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Money 20/20: Singapore Central Bank Confirms International Blockchain Payment Plans

Singapore will use its ‘Project Ubin’ Blockchain scheme for international payments, its central bank has confirmed. Singapore’s central bank reaffirmed its commitment to using Blockchain for international payments in an official speech March 15. Speaking during the Money20/20 Asia conference which finished on the same date, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon told an audience that the city-state’s Blockchain plans, dubbed ‘Project Ubin,’ will “solve the challenge” of increasing efficiency in the arena. “One of the potentially strongest use cases of crypto tokens is to facilitate cross-border payments in traditional currencies,” he said. “This is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to solve: to use blockchain technology to enable entities across jurisdictions to make payments to one another: without intermediaries; with greater speed and efficiency; and at lower risk and cost.” Both Singapore’s government and MAS have long been collaboratively bullish on Blockchain’s potential while creating a similarly enabling environment for cryptocurrency businesses. In February, MAS chief fintech officer told the mainstream press he considered the developmental aspects of Project Ubin - as an example of “fabulous Blockchain technology” - to have two years left before “real impact” can be seen. Menon confirmed in the speech that MAS had partnered with Bank of Canada “to test and develop a cross-border solution using crypto tokens issued by the two central banks.” Remittances using Blockchain are also an area of considerable interest to Singapore’s neighbors. Japan and South Korea have both signalled similar schemes, banks competing with crypto industry projects such as that announced by major South Korean exchange Bithumb and US payment gateway BitPay this week.…
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French Regulatory Agency Blacklists 15 Cryptocurrency And Crypto-Asset Websites

French stock market regulator AMF blacklists 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset trading companies for non-compliance with crypto advertising laws. The French stock market regulator, The Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), announced in a press release that they have added 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset investment websites to a blacklist on March 15. According to the press release, the companies listed ran afoul of the “Sapin II Law”, stating that: “The investment proposals highlighting the possibility of financial returns or similar economic effects involve intermediation in miscellaneous assets and are now subject to ex ante control by the AMF.…
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Australian Taxation Office Reports Scammers Collecting Bitcoin On Its Behalf

The Australian Taxation Office issued a warning about a new kind of scam requesting taxpayers to pay debts via Bitcoin and other crypto. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently issued a warning about a new type of scam claiming fake tax debt on behalf of ATO, and requesting tax payment via Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in a public release updated on March 14. In the warning, ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson stated that the new kind of scam first appeared in 2017.…
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Thailand Delivers First Draft Of ‘Digital Asset’ Regulations

Thailand could be just two votes away from confirming cryptocurrency and ICO regulations. Thailand’s government issued drafts of cryptocurrency and ICO legislation as lawmakers reiterated they had no intention of banning the technology, Bangkok Post reported March 14. As Bangkok Post and others report, Nathporn Chatusripitak, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, announced the two pending royal decrees, which will now go forward to approval from the Council of State as well as a cabinet vote. The drafts themselves highlight plans to collect a capital gains tax of up to 15 percent on “digital asset” profits – defined as “cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and other assets in the form of electronic data”, according to Thailand’s Finance Ministry. In addition, the government will require all actors involved in conducting digital asset business to be “registered with relevant authorities,” as per Bangkok Post. The exact tax levy is yet to be decided, the publication adds, with further specific details to follow later this month. Thailand has adopted a highly prudent approach to cryptocurrency and ICO investment in recent months. As Cointelegraph previously reported, in February 2018, the Central Bank of Thailand ordered financial institutions not to interact with cryptocurrencies or ICOs before the new regulations had come into effect. Two weeks later, the Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX) cited the same reason as being behind its decision to temporarily pause ICO registrations.…
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India’s HDFC Joins List Of Banks Banning Crypto Purchases Via Card

Major Indian private lender HDFC Bank followed J.P. Morgan and Citibank in banning of crypto-purchases with bank cards. India’s HDFC Bank, the country’s largest private bank, has informed clients that its debit and credit cards cannot be used to purchase cryptocurrency, local news source First Post reported March 14. In a letter to clients sent on Tuesday March 13, HDFC explained that the measure was taken in order to protect customers.…
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First Bitcoin Mainnet Lightning Network Product Launches As Developers Net $2.5 Mln

The first Bitcoin mainnet-ready Lightning Network implementation has launched from Lightning Labs. Lightning Labs released the first Bitcoin mainnet-ready Lightning Network (LN) implementation today, March 15, in what the company describes as an “important milestone”. In a blog post, Lightning Labs, whose product Lightning Daemon (lnd) helps developers easily connect to the LN, described it as having “the necessary safety, security, and fault-tolerance features required for real-world, real money usage.” The release comes as the company announced completion of a seed finance round worth $2.5…
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Google AdWords: ‘Ecosystem That Works For Everyone’, Except For A Lot Of Good People

In a strange turn of events, Google promises that it is “protecting the open web” by censoring all cryptocurrency ads on its platform. Google announced Wednesday, March 14 that it will be forbidding advertisers from serving cryptocurrency-related ads via its ad network AdWords starting from June 2018, following a similar move made by Facebook back in January 2018. The goal behind the ban, according to Google’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer, is to protect the search giant’s audience from “deceptive content” served by unscrupulous actors that use cryptocurrency, as well as other types of offers to scam people online.…
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Circle Co-Founder Says Recently-Acquired Poloniex Exchange Will Expand In Asia

In a recent interview, Circle’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said that the company is looking to expand its recently acquired crypto exchange Poloniex. Payments technology company Circle announced it plans to hire up to 100 people in Asia to expand its recently acquired Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange, Bloomberg reports today, March 15. In an interview in Hong Kong, Circle’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire stated that the company will be employing people to offer services in South Korea, Japan, China, and Hong Kong. According to Allaire, the company, which raised $140 mln in venture capital from major investors including Goldman Sachs, Baidu, and investment bank China International Capital Corp.,…
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UK Crypto Exchange Will Launch First ‘Physically Delivered’ Bitcoin Futures Next Month

UK exchange Coinfloor is looking to outpace US Bitcoin futures by offering the world’s first “physically delivered” options. UK-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor will launch the world’s first “physically delivered” Bitcoin futures contracts in April 2018, an executive told Reuters March 14. Speaking to Reuters during the Futures Industry Association’s annual conference in Florida, Coinfloor’s co-founder Mark Lamb announced that the exchange would shortly unveil a dedicated futures exchange called CoinfloorEX, which would showcase the pioneering product. The exchange confirmed the news on Twitter Thursday, March 15. Lots of information on our website https://t.co/T33wWLfjMp…