South Korean Cryptocurrency Trading Ban Rumours Put Pressure on Price of Bitcoin: BTCManager’s Week in Review Jan 15
In the past week, headlines circulated suggesting that South Korea, one of the largest bitcoin markets in the world, would impose a ban on cryptocurrency trading. These headlines rattled bitcoin holders, which led to a bitcoin price drop of almost 20 percent from $16,500 to $13,750.
Despite the fact that these claims were refuted rather quickly, the price of bitcoin ended up losing value in the past seven days. This price drop was exasperated by statements by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, who voiced his concerns over bitcoin’s role as the potential next “Swiss bank account,” which can be used to hide funds from the authorities.
More and more lawmakers and regulators are making statements on the topic of how decentralized digital currencies will be regulated shortly, which is driving uncertainty in the crypto asset market.
The altcoin market also took a breather after a strong rally to start the year with several leading altcoins such as ripple (XRP), cardano (ADA), litecoin (LTC), and NEM (XEM), which dropped 40 percent, 22 percent, 19 percent and 20 percent respectively. Only ether (ETH) and NEO (NEO) stood out by reaching new all-time highs of $1,365 and $142, gaining 20 percent and 35 percent respectively week-on-week.
Earlier on January 11, 2018, Justice Minister Park stated that the Justice Ministry is drafting a bill that would effectively ban cryptocurrency trading for both foreigners and citizens. In a press conference, Park emphasized that the ministry plans to control speculation in the cryptocurrency market by banning cryptocurrency trading outright.
Immediately after the statement of Justice Minister park was released, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance noted that it was only made aware of his statement through media reports and that it does not reflect the viewpoint of the government. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance went on to say that the agency does not support and agree with the premature statement of the Justice Minister.
It has been confirmed that a company based in Hong Kong has had the trading of its shares suspended by the regulators in the United States, after incorporating the word ‘blockchain’ into its name.
This interrogation comes after they leveraged the surge in popularity for blockchain related investments in 2017 and managed share price hikes of over 900 percent. The reason trading was halted was due to the authorities being concerned that the business had misled their investors about their operations.
It was the United States Securities and Exchange Commission that called a halt to trading of the UBI Blockchain Internet Ltd. Shares as a result of what they described as “unusual and unexplained market activity.” They also have their doubts about how accurate the company’s proclaimed information in their financial statements might be.
Chris Doman, a cybersecurity researcher at AlienVault, a U.S.-based security firm, has discovered a malware that mines cryptocurrencies using foreign computers while the earnings deposit to a North Korean university’s wallet in Pyongyang.
As North Korea faces tougher United Nation sanctions, it is looking for alternative income sources. North Korean hackers are targeting computers around the world to mine virtual currencies.
AlienVault reported that malware was deployed on Christmas Eve with an aim to mine monero. AlienVault said: “Crypto-currencies may provide a financial lifeline to a country walloped by sanctions, and as a result universities in Pyongyang have shown a clear interest in cryptocurrencies.”
The illegally mined crypto funds trickle to a Kim Il Sung University server. To withdraw the funds the hacker enters the three-letter password “KJU,” which could refer to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean Leader. However, the server may be a decoy to trick observers and the university if open to many international students.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is planning to institute a task force that shall monitor cryptocurrencies trades to ensure the right amount of tax is being paid on crypto profits. The report came from the Australian Financial Review.
Due to the lack of regulations, early bitcoin adopters have made a handsome profit on their investments. However, now as the authorities tighten its grasp on crypto traders, the cryptocurrency loophole for investors to evade tax may come to an end sooner.
“We are consulting with key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in tax issues relating to cryptocurrencies. We will discuss common queries and scenarios, practical issues and the tax implications for current and anticipated future developments in relation to cryptocurrencies,” said the ATO spokesperson.
Research designed and led by Manuel Beltran aims to use human-powered energy to mine digital assets. Beltran, who’s currently with the intriguingly named Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO), has developed a special bodysuit that harvests the heat emitted by the human body and turns it into a sustainable source of energy.
The IoHO is currently conducting various operations that include researching and developing “biological labor” for the mining of crypto coins such as ethereum, bitcoin, litecoin, and others. Under Beltran’s guidance, the research team recently ran a series of tests that spanned over nearly 212 hours with participation by 37 workers.
Using the customized bodysuit, the 37 participants in the experiment collectively generated 127.2 watts of power. Apparently, that was enough to mine 16,590 vertcoin, litecoin, dash, startcoin, ethereum, and lisk tokens. Explaining the reasoning behind the experiments, the researchers stated that the human body is capable of producing as much as 100 watts while resting, of which nearly 80 percent goes to waste.