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Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-up – August 17th, 2018

South Korea to raise investment in big data, blockchain and sharing economy to over 1 trillion won in 2019

The South Korean government has announced its big investment plans for blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies in 2019. On August 13, the government unveiled its ‘growth through innovation’ investment plan for 2019.

South Korea’s Jeju Island seeks to become blockchain hub

The South Korean island of Jeju is seeking to become a hub for the blockchain industry, according to Korea Joongang Daily. During a meeting last week, Governor Won Hee-ryong requested the central government to designate the island a special zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency.

FinCEN to launch cryptocurrency-focused exchange program

FinCEN, a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, is going to launch an exchange program focused on cryptocurrencies to help facilitate engagement with the industry. Speaking at the 2018 Chicago-Kent Block (Legal) Tech Conference, FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco said that FinCEN is working closely with other regulatory agencies including the SEC and the CFTC for coordinated policy development and regulatory approaches on cryptocurrencies as well as ICOs.

China seeks to improve blockchain literacy of government officials

In a move to encourage blockchain literacy across public offices, China's Communist Party has published an explainer for officials and members, CoinDesk reported referring to a report from the Daily. The book, entitled "Blockchain – A Guide for Officials", starts off with an introduction of blockchain – its origin and features.

India mulls allowing crypto tokens for financial transactions

The government of India is considering allowing crypto tokens for facilitating financial transactions in the country, while maintaining its ban on cryptocurrencies, DNA India reported. A senior official said, “The committee is examining if crypto tokens can be used to replace smart cards such as metro cards in the public sector to start with.”

Swiss Parliamentarian Doris Fiala joins blockchain startup Procivis’ board of directors

Procivis, a Switzerland-based digital identity platform, has announced that Swiss Liberal Party FDP politician Doris Fiala has joined the company’s Board of Directors. The startup said that it is adding three accomplished personalities from politics and the private sector to its board of directors.

Saudi Arabia declares bitcoin trading illegal

Saudi Arabia has officially declared that trading in digital currencies such as bitcoin is illegal in the country. A standing committee comprising of Saudi Arabian regulators this stated that “the unauthorized virtual currencies are illegal inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Vietnamese firms and individuals stop importing cryptocurrency mining equipment

The HCM City Customs Department has said that domestic businesses and individuals have stopped importing bitcoin mining equipment since the beginning of July, Viet Nam News reported. Last month, reports suggested that Vietnamese regulators were considering suspending the import of cryptocurrency mining equipment.

Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten, Bitt sign MOU to explore central bank digital currency

Barbados-based blockchain startup Bitt has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) to explore the possibility of issuing central bank-issued digital currency. The CBCS aims to explore the feasibility of issuing a digital currency that will facilitate digital financial payments in the two countries as well as to maintain the external stability of the guilder.

Research Studies:

Ethereum is the most popular cryptocurrency with phishers: Kaspersky

Investments/Acquisitions/ Fund-raising:

Goldman Sachs, Nyca Partners lead $32M Series B investment round in blockchain firm Axoni

identitii becomes second blockchain company to launch IPO on ASX

Cryptocurrency dealer SFOX secures $22.7M in Series A funding

Tron acquires blockchain.org domain name

Coinbase increases focus on digital identity solutions with Distributed Systems acquisition

Cryptocurrency Funds

Pantera Capital seeks $175M for third crypto venture fund

Reality Shares to launch $100M cryptocurrency hedge fund – Report

Golden Gate Ventures announces $10M cryptocurrency fund LuneX Ventures

Partnerships/Consortiums

Blockchain supply chain startup Sweetbridge joins Accord Project

China UnionPay, Bank of China partner to explore blockchain and big data

Digital Currency and Blockchain Initiatives

Huobi to set up five cryptocurrency exchanges in new markets via cloud platform

Chinese online retail giant JD.com launches blockchain platform for enterprise customers

Binance and LCX launch fiat-to-crypto exchange in Liechtenstein

Ripple announces Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph as preferred digital asset exchanges

Crypto exchange Coinbase rebrands Toshi as “Coinbase Wallet”

BMO, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan pilot blockchain technology for fixed income issuance transaction

American Association of Insurance Services taps IBM Blockchain to automate regulatory reporting

Bitwise launches three new crypto indices, announces index advisory board

Volkswagen is testing three potential blockchain applications

Jamaica Stock Exchange seeks to enable cryptocurrency trading

LINE launches $10M blockchain venture fund, lists TRON on BITBOX cryptocurrency exchange

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