The quirky world of crypto: Fans, bans and traffic jams

January 15, 2018 4:07 pm

Crypto currency is evolving its own culture of fans and followers, but also financial institutions or investors are suffering from some form of crypto-phobia.

Here’s a look at the weird world of crypto, trying to adjust.

Crypto pop band

As of January 12,2018, a new Japanese crypto pop group was born, called the Virtual Currency Girls, or Kasotsuka Shojo in Japanese, according to Business Insider (BI).

The eight-girl band is “bedecked in masks and maid’s outfits that’s been formed specifically to spread the word about cryptocurrencies.”

“Each member of the group represents a different cryptocurrency or blockchain, and the group’s first song has “virtual currencies” in its title.”

These include well known Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, and other cryptic cryptos like Neo, Mona, and Cardona.

In an email, the group’s producer, who works for Japanese entertainment company Cinderella Academy, said the Virtual Currency Girls was formed because a similar group did not previously “exist in this world” and because it would be “fun.”

“Virtual currency is not a tool of speculation but a technology that creates a wonderful future,” the group’s producer said on the group’s official website.

Fans will only be able to pay for tickets for future performances with bitcoin or other cryptos, and the girls are paid exclusively in Bitcoin, which according to BI has been considered legal tender in Japan since April 2017.

“The Virtual Currency Girls first song, ‘The Moon and Virtual Currencies and Me,’ is a punchy pop ballad that warns against fraudulent online operators. For the price of 0.001 bitcoin (about $14), fans could meet and have their picture taken with their favorite performer,” said BI.

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Crypto Bans

According to the Jakarta Post, Bank Indonesia has teamed up with the National Police to prevent transactions using cryptocurrency bitcoin in Bali after the Central Bank declared it an illegal form of payment in Indonesia.

“We are looking out for bitcoin transactions in Bali, particularly in tourist spots. We will take measures against non-rupiah transactions,” said Bank Indonesia’s Bali office head Causa Iman Karana.

“We warned people not to carry out transactions with virtual money because there is no authority that regulates the transactions,” he said.

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Bank Indonesia had prohibited payment using bitcoin as it violated Law No. 7/2011 on currency and transactions with Bitcoin had high risk because the cryptocurrency had no official administrator and could be used for money laundering, terrorism and other criminal transactions.

Fortune magazine also reported that Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp, aka the Bitcoin bank, which is used by cryptocurrency companies and investment firms for wire transfers and deposits, has ceased all cryptocurrency-related international wires effective last Thursday.

The reason for the shutdown was because the bank could not verify the compliance of international wire transfers for cryptocurrency accounts.

“The move is alleged to be a response to an incident of international fraud associated with one of the bank’s clients,” said Fortune.

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Crypto superhighway traffic

According to the Coin Telegraph, the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange has come back online January13 after a 2 hour delay stretched to more than 48-hours.

Kraken apologized but users had already expressed frustrations placing exchanges and frequent connection errors on the site.

“With their return online, Kraken announced that unleveraged trading is free until the end of the month,” said Coin Telegraph.

“Crypto exchange Coinbase also went offline for several hours in May due to a reported degraded performance. Additionally, several other exchanges including Luno, Bitfinex, and Bitstamp experienced delays or went offline for maintenance in December after an influx of new cryptocurrency users inspired by the rising price of Bitcoin (BTC) exponentially increased the volume of traffic.”

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Crypto evasion

According to Malaysian media Star Online, tax authorities in countries such as South Korea and India have clamped down on cryptocurrency exchanges, wanting to know who is dabbling in cryptocurrencies and whether these customers are evading taxes.

“Malaysian tax authorities have also jumped into action. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in Malaysia is said to be Luno. However, over the past few weeks, its bank account in a major local bank was frozen by the authorities,” said the Star Online.

This sent shockwaves across the cryptocurrency scene in Malaysia.

Luno which trades bitcoin and ethereum has 1 million customers or wallets registered.

“The exchange had revealed that Malaysians traded over 900 bitcoins on the Luno exchange in a single day last December, which worked out to some RM40million ($10million) .

“As for Luno, rumours began circulating as to what was the reason for the freezing of the account, and many had believed that it was linked to the central bank’s rules relating to anti-money laundering,” said The Star Online.

Bank Negara revealed that an average of RM75m ($19m) in transactions of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were transacted each month in Malaysia.

Currently, digital currencies are not legal tender in Malaysia, and the central bank has said that it was not stopping the trading of bitcoin.

The Securities Commission (SC) shut down an initial coin offering (ICO) in Malaysia recently and says it will not hesitate to rein in others who try to contravene securities laws.

Some exchanges operate merely as matching platforms, charging a fee to sellers (paid for bitcoins) to post their offerings online. One such active exchange locally is Remitano.

Courtesy of Star Online



Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.