Friday’s blockchain and crypto news, from Asia and beyond
Crypto-mining headmasters in China, blockchain-powered taxis systems in Singapore, regulation-swerving Bitcoin exchanges in India ... who needs more?
Malaysian remittance giant joins Ripple network: CIMB, the Malaysian lending giant, has become part of Ripple’s cross-border payment network. CIMB is ASEAN’s fifth largest bank and the partnership will allow instant cross-border payments across the region. The World Bank projects remittances to Southeast Asia will grow to $120 billion by the end of 2018. Japanese bank MUFG also recently announced a partnership Banco Bradesco S.A. to collaborate on a new cross-border payment service using Ripple.
China to demand more ‘details’ from blockchain users: It might be in direct contradiction of the principles of decentralization, but China will soon be asking its blockchain users to register with their government IDs. A report in Verge says users will have to provide their real names and national ID card numbers upon using a blockchain service. Contrary to recent news, China is not relaxing its grip on crypto-currency or exchanges, which are outlawed in the country. Beijing is most certainly building a blockchain empire, but it’s one in which control is retained.
Chinese headmaster fired for turning school into crypto mine: A wonderful story on the BBC tells of a Chinese headmaster who has been fired over secret coin mining at school. Local media reports earlier indicated that teachers at the Hunan school became suspicious of a constant whirring noise and an electricity bill of RMB14,600 ($2,100). The headmaster had been mining Ethereum and had been fending off previous complaints from teachers with excuses about air-conditioners and heating devices. Nice try but he might have wanted to mine something else, based on recent Ethereum prices. However, it does show that mining is still prevalent in the country, contrary to official wisdom.
In the Lion City, blockchain taxi app gets roar of approval: Singapore has launched another original development in its blockchain industry, after app developer Tada has partnered more than 2,000 Singaporean drivers to its new blockchain-based platform for cabs. MVL, the South Korean start-up that created Tada, also expanded its network to crypto-currency payments in Thailand. Drivers will be given MVL Coins for good reviews from users, while users are rewarded for feedback. In Japan, Remixpoint Inc is said to be planning to integrate a Bitcoin payment to taxicab services at Tokyo’s major airports Haneda and Narita.
Enforcing a crypto ban in India? Good luck: India has been wavering on regulating crypto-currencies for the past year. Officially, crypto-currencies are banned in the country following an official trading halt in April and the Reserve Bank of India has indicated it will continue to keep close tabs on them after a September Supreme court hearing has come and gone with no resolution. A new Quartz report cites the existence of 10 exchanges in India with 5 to 6 million users. “The government can successfully ban the known, big exchanges; but then small, hyperlocal exchanges will possibly come up and it will be extremely difficult to keep track of, and block them,” Nischal Shetty, founder of exchange WazirX, told Quartz.