Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in operation, has just announced that it will be ceasing its operations in Japan for the time being.

The move is as a result of increased regulations and sky-high operational costs in the Japanese cryptocurrency market.

In a report Bloomberg published, Kraken stated:

“Suspending our services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas.” They reassured their numerous customers by adding: “This is a localised suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan”.

For a while now, Japan has been cited as the hub for crypto activity by the cryptocurrency community. A large number of Japanese organizations have been hopping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. Internet companies have shown growing interest in dipping into the rising market. As an example, Yahoo Japan recently announced the acquisition of a cryptocurrency exchange.

Along with companies, it seems the general public has warmed up to the sector as well. R25 conducted a survey where it was reported that approximately 14% of Japanese males within the age bracket of 25 to 30 own cryptocurrency.

https://twitter.com/business/status/986088052589252608/photo/1

Even while the Japanese public’s acceptance of cryptocurrency is on the rise, increasing government regulations have cropped up after the $560 Million hack of Coincheck. Several calls have been made by investors and members of the public for increased scrutiny of the exchanges to prevent a future occurrence.

The Japanese Financial Services Agency made a move towards protecting the industry by requiring licenses for exchanges and a higher level of security. This led to a lot of closures as some exchanges couldn’t meet these demands.

Kraken, on the other hand, obtained the necessary authority to operate in Japan without a license but the American-based company was never a crowd’s favorite.

Over the course of its 3-year existence in Japan, Kraken was never able to reach the volume it required to justify its existence in Japan. As of April 17th, the BTC/JPY pair accounted for a measly 0.9% of the exchange’s total volume, minuscule when compared to the BTC/USD pair’s total volume.

vault

A developer with Parity Technologies has published an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP), EIP 999, that seeks to un-freeze the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ether currently stuck in multi-sig contracts.

EIP 999, drafted by Parity’s Afri Schoedon, proposes that the contract code of Parity’s now-frozen wallet library contract should be patched so that funds stored in affected wallets can be reclaimed by their owners.

Funds in Parity-based multi-sig wallets have been frozen since last November when pseudonymous Github user “devops199” reported that he or she had accidentally exploited a bug in Parity’s multi-sig wallet library contract.

Devops199 inadvertently caused the contract self-destruct, ultimately freezing funds stored in every multi-sig wallet that interfaced with the Parity library contract.

Approximately 513,000 ETH, stored across 584 different wallets, were permanently locked up as a result of the bug. Those funds were worth approximately $150 million at the time; today, they are worth closer to $260 million, and that figure doesn’t include the value of ERC20 tokens that are also be stored in the wallets.

From the proposal:

“This proposal is necessary because the Ethereum protocol does not allow the restoration of self-destructed contracts and there is no other simple way to enable the affected users and companies regaining access to their tokens and Ether. In opposite to previously discussed proposals, this will not change any EVM semantics and tries to achieve the goal of unfreezing the funds by a single state transition as specified in the next section.”

Since the Ethereum protocol does not currently allow the restoration of self-destructed contracts, the proposal would need to be activated through a hard fork. Schoedon suggested that it should be included in the list of EIPs implemented in Constantinople, Ethereum’s next planned hard fork.

However, despite precedent in the form of the DAO hard fork, previous proposals to recover the locked Parity funds have been met with resistance by the Ethereum community.

Featured Image from Pixabay

smartphone

Coinbase has acquired Cipher Browser, an ethereum wallet and Web 3 browser that allows mobile users to access decentralized applications (DApps) that run on the Ethereum blockchain.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage platform made the announcement on Friday, just weeks after revealing that it intended to work to ensure that its products were compatible with ERC20 tokens.

Coinbase already has its own mobile ethereum wallet and DApp browser, Toshi, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. In addition to letting mobile users access DApps like CryptoKitties, the app also has a built-in messaging system, which uses the Signal protocol to offer end-to-end encrypted chats.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company did reveal that Peter Kim, Cipher’s creator, would join Coinbase as Toshi’s new head of engineering and work to integrate many of Cipher’s features into Toshi.

One of those features will be support for testnets, which allow developers to test their apps in a sandbox that mimics real-world implementation without having to risk actual funds. The lack of testnet support in Toshi had been a sticking point for DApp developers.

That Kim will immediately transition to developing Toshi is not surprising, as Emilie Choi — Coinbase’s new vice president of corporate and business development — is a fan of “acqhiring,” a strategy whereby a firm buys out another company primarily for the staff and their expertise.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase is also rumored to be in discussions to acquire Earn.com, a paid messaging platform that rewards users with cryptocurrency for replying to emails and completing other microtasks.

Coinbase also recently launched a venture capital fund, which will provide cryptocurrency startups with seed funding. The fund will open with $15 million, and the company said this number will grow along with Coinbase itself.

Featured Image from Pixabay

cex.io chart

CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange and former Bitcoin cloud mining provider. Founded in London in 2013, CEX first began as a cloud mining provider that owned the Ghash.io pool. As an online digital currency exchanger, CEX.IO offers the trading of cryptocurrency for fiat money, including USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB. The exchange charges commissions from 0% to 0.25%  on trades using the Maker-Taker fee schedule. The current list of cryptocurrencies available on CEX.io is Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, XLM, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Zcash, and Bitcoin Gold.

cex cryptoName: CEX
URL: https://www.cex.io
Total trading pairs: 15
Founded: 2013
Deposit fees: no
Withdrawal fees: no
Trading fees: 0.00% – 0.20%
Margin trading: no
USA accepted: yes
Verification levels and withdrawal limits:

Verification Level

Limits

Basic Daily: 1000 USD; Monthly: 3,000 USD
Verified Unlimited
Verified Plus Unlimited
Corporate Unlimited

Registration

CEX.io allows for initial registration using email, Google Oauth, or Facebook Oauth. To continue after Oauth, you will still need to manually input your email address. An email verification link will be sent to you. Upon verification, you are directed to the /buysell page, which has prices for currency available for purchase by Credit Card, good for the next 66 seconds. After that, a new price is populated, based on exchange rate, and you are given a further 120 seconds.

cex.io screenshot

Verification

A full guide to account verification is available here. With basic registration, you are allowed to buy and sell bitcoin with a daily limit of $1000 via credit card only, and a monthly limit of $3000. Verification allows you to make bank transfers and take commissions as well as removes the deposit/withdrawal account limits on basic registration.

 

CEX.io verification screenshot
CEX.io verification

The Verified level requires the submission of identifying documentation (DL, Passport, or ID card) and a tax reference number, such as a social security number. This will include your address and scans/photos of your identification documents.

CEX personal information verification
CEX personal information verification

In the personal information section, the registree will be required to submit their Gender, date of birth, first, middle, and last name, place of birth, and contact number. Optionally you can submit social media profiles as well. The following page is a simple address verification form.

From the CEX.io website:

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Most popular methods: Visa, MasterCard, bank transfer (SWIFT, SEPA), cryptocurrency

STRONG SECURITY

Protection against DDoS attacks, full data encryption, compliant with PCI DSS standards

WORLD COVERAGE

Providing services in 99% countries around the globe, including 24 states of USA

LEGAL COMPLIANCE

Registration in the UKMSB status in FinCEN, essential licenses and strong relations with banks

MARGIN TRADING

1:2 and 1:3 leverages, automatic funds borrowing, no extra accounts needed, negative balance protection.

COMPETITIVE COMMISSIONS

Reasonable trading fees for takers and makers, special conditions for high volume traders, strong offers for market makers.

CROSS-PLATFORM TRADING

Trading via website, mobile appWebSocket and REST API. FIX API for institutional traders

ADVANCED REPORTING

Downloadable reports, real-time balance, transaction history with transparent fees

HIGH LIQUIDITY

Fast order execution, low spread, access to high liquidity orderbook for top currency pairs

zug switzerland crypto valley

The Crypto Valley – a name granted to Zug, Switzerland – really lives up to its name. As a testament to how crypto-friendly they are in Crypto Valley, you can actually pay for your company registration using cryptocurrency there.

Bitfineon, a Switzerland based exchange, discovered this while registering for their company earlier this year. In fact, this has been available in the canton of Zug since early 2017.

The registration document reads (in English):

“Want to pay in Bitcoin or Ether? No problem, just send us an Email.”

If you wanted to pay using a different cryptocurrency than ether or bitcoin… Technically, you could use Shapeshift to pay using any cryptocurrency that they support.

Switzerland has been known as Crypto Valley for years

The Crypto Valley has been going strong for years. Notably, Ethereum chose the country as the base for what was not the first, but was definitely the the most well known ICO that kicked off the current craze in 2014. Now, in 2018, many more new cryptocurrency companies (such as Bitfineon) have started setting up shop there. In fact, even large and established cryptocurrency companies such as Bitfinex – the fifth largest bitcoin exchange by scale – have expressed interest in moving to the “crypto valley.” In this valley, it seems that Bitcoin and Ethereum reign supreme, which is no surprise given both market capitalization and the cryptocurrency landscape years ago.

Zug, Switzerland isn’t the only region to claim to be cryptocurrency or cryptography friendly. On another end of the multifaceted spectrum there are regions like Liberland. Estonia has a digital e-residency program that features a recently cracked ID card program. There are even Crypto Islands and Crypto castles and more than one ambiguous use of the word crypto. On another end of the multifaceted spectrum there are regions like Liberland.

What are your thoughts on paying government taxes or fees using cryptocurrency?