This week has of course been overshadowed by the Coronavirus tragedy that is occurring in China and other parts of Asia. However, the cryptocurrency news in Asia has not stopped. Here is our breakdown of the top news stories of the past week.

1. Is the Coronavirus affecting Bitcoin’s price?

Image result for coronavirus mask

The Coronavirus has been the focal point of discussions across the Asian continent this past week, as China tries its best to halt the tragedy. The effect of the virus, which has forced the city of Wuhan into lockdown, is widespread and has even impacted on Bitcoin’s price. 

According to some commentators in the industry, the recent price gain from Bitcoin which went up to over 7,000 USD, is due in part to the outbreak of the deadly virus. This is because Bitcoin is being seen as a safe haven asset. CEO of deVere Group, Nigel Green said: 

“The ongoing upward trajectory of the price of Bitcoin correlates to the spread of the coronavirus.

“The more individual cases that are identified, the more countries around the world that are affected, and the greater the impact on traditional financial markets, the higher the price of Bitcoin has jumped.”

2. Japanese messaging app, Line, to launch digital currency in April

Line is looking to launch its own digital currency for Japanese users in April, potentially putting crypto in the hands of its 700 million users. The popular East Asian social media app has had the cryptocurrency called Link since 2018, but have only just received regulatory approval. Line’s previous foray into the industry was an exchange called BitBox, which allowed its users to trade crypto. 

Line has joined a worldwide trend of social media companies looking to get into the crypto business. Russian company Telegram has plans for a native cryptocurrency as do US-based Facebook. However, both attempts have hit many roadblocks, with both social media giants facing huge regulatory pressures. 

3. Singapore’s crypto business regulations come into force

Singapore is the Blockchain Capital for Asia Singapore is fast becoming the home of blockchain in Asia following further additions to its ever-growing usage of the technology behind cryptocurrencies. For example, VeChain, a leading blockchain platform, is powering universities in the country to issue blockchain-based degree certificates. Consequently, Singapore and its passion for blockchain technology is pushing the continent and the world into more modern ways of bureaucracy and efficiency. Below are some of the latest blockchain use cases in Singapore Pacific International joins Singapore Blockchain Platform Recently, a Singapore-based company, Global eTrade Services (GeTS), announced that a leading shipping company, Pacific International Lines (PIL), has joined their digital logistics platform. This platform, CALISTA, organizes global supply chains digitally with part of the system using blockchain. Along with analytics and tracking, CALISTA uses GeTS’ blockchain. The Open Trade Blockchain (OTB), is used to provide verifiably genuine documents which can be shared nearly instantly. OTB, which was released last year, aims to prevent shipping fraud, thus creating trust between freight companies. ICC Partners with Perlin Blockchain for CoFT Singapore’s blockchain journey was propelled further when the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) unveiled the ICC Blockchain/DLT Alliance six weeks ago. The initiative aims to support supply chains and cross border trade finance for its 45 million members. In the latest developments, their blockchain partner, Perlin Network, announced that Perlin and the ICC would establish the Centre of Future Trade (CoFT) in Singapore to help companies to digitize trade. According to reports, the CoFT will: “Help companies transition from existing paper-based systems to digital blockchain-based platforms,” as they “are significantly cheaper, faster, more secure and efficient.” The initiative is also partnering with a government agency, Enterprise Singapore, which plans to work with the ICC and Perlin to target major commodity players. Notably, this is not the first blockchain partnership Enterprise Singapore has made. In the past, Enterprise Singapore teamed up with blockchain accelerator program dubbed Tribe Accelerator. The project hopes to enthuse startups to target real-world impact and applicability of blockchain-based solutions. Additionally, the project offers a platform where government agencies can collaborate with blockchain startups. Singapore Finding More usage for Blockchain According to reports, Singapore wants to use blockchain technology to lower settlement and clearing costs, which get as high as $20 billion annually. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has already identified blockchain’s potential impact on the financial industry. Therefore, it has launched the Ubin project, which will work towards creating solutions for payments, settlement and securities clearing. Power companies are also utilizing blockchain technology. For instance, the Singapore Power Group (SPG) rolled out a blockchain-based market that handles renewable energy certificates (RECs). The project will allow Singapore-based commercial entities to acquire RECs, and this will encourage the production of renewable energy. The blockchain technology will allow companies to efficiently, securely and seamlessly trade renewable energy certificates. Conclusion It is clear that Singapore is one of the surprisingly few countries that are adopting blockchain technology. What has made the nation to stand out is the government’s willingness to accept the technology and utilize it. Let’s hope that Singapore drags the continent forward and illustrates the fantastic usage of blockchain.
Read our article on why Singapore is the Blockchain capital of Asia here.

Last Tuesday saw the new cryptocurrency business regulations come into force in Singapore. The Payment Services Act will regulate the industry and put it in the same category as the Financial Advisers Act, Insurance Act, Securities and Futures Act and the Trust Companies Act. 

The legislation has not put off that many cryptocurrency businesses who are based in Singapore, with Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori telling Bloomberg that “we welcome the Act with open arms.” 

4. MimbleWimble makes big development gains

An image of the tweet MimbleWimble developer @DavidBurkett38 sent out.

MimbleWimble, the protocol behind the privacy tokens, Beam and Grin, has seen some positive news after the latest development report for Litecoin (LTC). Developer, David Burkett shared the news on Twitter spelling out the improvements made in the past month. The developer has allowed for one-sided transactions, meaning both parties don’t need to be online to complete a transaction. He has also added database framework changes and created security audit results for Grin++. 

5. India plots a Digital Rupee as national bank eases stance

Bitcoin In India
Is India going to embrace Crypto?

A draft report from India has suggested that the nation should have its own digital rupee, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and Indian blockchain. The document was drafted by the National Institute for Smart Governance, an organization that works for the government. 

This message of crypto acceptance goes largely against the recent trend in the central Asian nation, with bans in place. The aforementioned report has criticized the polarising approach from government officials who have made crypto enthusiasts worried. However, more recently the authorities like the Royal Bank of India who had sought to ban cryptocurrencies, have rolled back on their strict approach. In a statement released during their Supreme Court ruling, the bank said that it is ok for personal use but not for “entities regulated by” them.