Craig Wright pushes Bitcoin for enterprise in Tokyo

Bitcoin should be a commodity and “just plumbing,” but it’s also “the best auditing technology in the world.” That was Dr. Craig Wright’s message to a gathering of businesspeople in Tokyo, some of whom were only just starting to learn about blockchain.

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Wright was speaking at the Bitcoin Association’s inaugural “BSV: Bitcoin for Business” program. The pilot event was aimed at delivering information on Bitcoin SV to those “not of blockchain,” i.e. businesspeople whose operations could benefit from bitcoin and associated technologies, but who are not familiar with or don’t understand it yet.

Joined by Jerry Chan of the Bitcoin Association, Wright gave a brief history of Bitcoin’s creation. Previous inventions like Digicash and eGold were great ideas, he said, but ones that ultimately failed due to large-scale criminal activity on their networks.

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Audit trails can eliminate corruption

He described his history at previous employer BDO, an auditing and assurance firm. The experience was educational—”Transparency is a huge problem and nearly every organization has some level of fraud,” he said. Fraud and corruption represented “some of the worst things on the planet,” behavior that impacted stock price and contributed to human misery in crime and poverty worldwide.

Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin wasn’t created as an answer to the late 00s’ global financial crisis, nor was it intended to replace banks and governments. Instead, Wright said, it aims to make those institutions more transparent and fair.

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The average CDS (credit default swap) had millions of entries no-one could trace. Imagine a world where, even if you had a billion inputs, you could track them all. That’s a different world.

Within the context of offering business advice to attendees, Wright took aim at some favorite targets: exchanges like Binance, cypherpunks, and the thousands of other blockchain projects that exist today, particularly those offering utility tokens as tradable assets.

“You know what a utility token is? It’s a bus ticket, a cinema ticket,” he said. Their value shouldn’t be subject to gamblers’ speculation and it was useless to have a world where users needed to be constantly exchanging their tokens.

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We might as well go back to a barter system.

Bitcoin basics and incentives

Wright also explained how the Bitcoin network works and its key uses, with miners as incentivized rule enforcers, and the introduction of ASICs ridding the network of botnets.

In response to an audience question about how Bitcoin could replace existing national currencies, Wright said it wasn’t intended to. Bitcoin is a micropayments network with the potential for billion transactions per second; a different kind of internet. It allows privacy in transactions, something he described as the polar opposite of anonymity.

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With privacy, those involved in transactions still know who they’re dealing with. With total anonymity, no one knows anything about the other party and trust disappears.

He referred several times to electronic data interchange, or EDI—a company like Walmart could do trillions of transactions with EDI on blockchain, something “that would demolish their costs.”

Another question concerned Wright and nChain’s multiple patent applications, and whether this was compatible with Bitcoin’s vision of an open economy. He noted that even cypherpunk-affiliated developers like Hal Finney held patents on their inventions, and that they represented a guard against misuse of the technology.

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Message for Japan

The Japanese business environment is sophisticated and highly regulated. One big hurdle Bitcoin SV faces here is that it is not yet “whitelisted” by Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). This means it isn’t currently possible to buy or sell BSV on any of Japan’s legal exchanges.

Local advocates have begun to lobby for whitelisting, and events such as the “BSV: Bitcoin for Business” programs are intended to educate by highlighting BSV‘s law-friendly and responsible face.

Ken Shishido, representing the Japan Metanet Society, asked what Bitcoin could offer for Japanese business specifically.

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Wright replied that in the 1980s and 90s, Japan “was everything,” but had been let down by its banks and their lack of transparency.

“Japanese companies like Toyota and Sony have changed the world,” he said, and Japanese culture has always embraced new technology.

Japan can now embrace this technology and fulfill the promise of the 1980s.

Judging by the questions asked and the number of curious newcomers who approached Wright with more detailed questions after the event concluded, the message was well received.

“I was elated to see the turnout of industry professionals coming out hear Dr. Wright’s message,” stated Jerry Chan the Bitcoin Association Regional Manager of Japan & South Korea. “I felt their enthusiasm about Bitcoin’s original vision and use case, which really gave me renewed confidence that the industry is slowly maturing to be business and regulatory compatible. Also just to see Craig here in Japan, the creator of Bitcoin, as part of a ‘Satoshi’s return’ to the spiritual birthplace of Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency industry as a whole, was special. I was proud to be there and part of it.”

The Bitcoin Association now plans to make its “BSV: Bitcoin for Business” program a regular series, both in Japan and other locations around the world. Its message of improving business and government, rather than seeking to destroy institutions, is a positive one and far more likely to gain traction.

Roger Ver snub prompts Craig Wright’s lawyers to seek court order over libel claim

Roger Ver snub prompts Craig Wright’s lawyers to seek court order over libel claim

Legal representatives for Dr. Craig Wright are about to serve Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver legal papers in Japan.

Wright recently filed a legal claim for libel against Ver, who was featured in an April 15 video on Bitcoin.com’s YouTube channel declaring that “Craig Wright is a liar and a fraud. So sue me. Again.” The video has since been taken down, after it was pointed out that posting libelous material is a civil and criminal offense in Japan, and punishable by up to three years’ jail time.

Ver, however, has yet to make a public apology to Wright, despite warnings from the latter’s lawyers that legal action would follow unless Ver agrees to issue the necessary apology—either via his personal online accounts or via Bitcoin.com.

Ver was personally served with the legal papers by Dr. Wright’s representatives on May 2 at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen in London, where a hastily organized Bitcoin Cash (BCH) event was held. At the time, Ver told the representative that he would accept service of the court documents by email to his Bitcoin.com address, or to support@bitcoin.com. But when sought for a written confirmation, Ver didn’t respond to Wright’s attorneys.

In response to the snub, Wright’s lawyers are now seeking a court order allowing them to serve the documents out of the jurisdiction on Ver in Japan, where he currently resides.

In his libel claim, filed before the UK’s Royal Courts of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Wright is seeking £100,000 in monetary damages as well as an undertaking restraining Ver and any of his affiliated entities from making further allegations that deny Wright’s claim to being the individual behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Contrary to Ver’s “again” statement, this is the first time that Wright had taken legal action against the so-called “Bitcoin Jesus.”

It’s worth noting that Ver had been publicly supporting Wright’s claims as Satoshi until the nChain chief scientist broke off from the BCH camp to launch Bitcoin SV (BSV). As the driving force behind the BSV protocol, Wright is convinced that the attacks against him are intended to take down BSV as the protocol—capable of massive on-chain scaling—represents a threat to the future of other cryptocurrencies.

Wright will be a featured speaker at the upcoming CoinGeek Conference in Toronto on May 29-30, which welcomes supporters of all cryptocurrencies. If you believe in the vision of the original Bitcoin white paper, and get excited when you think about the unlimited possibilities with Bitcoin SV, there’s still time to register for the CoinGeek Toronto scaling conference, and you can even save money by using BSV via Coingate.

Coincheck to sell BSV holdings, pay users in Japanese yen

Coincheck to sell BSV holdings, pay users in Japanese yen

Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has decided that it won’t support Bitcoin SV (BSV). The platform first made the announcement after the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork last year, but is now moving forward with payouts of any BSV holdings. Those payouts will be made in Japanese yen.

According to a statement by the company, “Regarding the date and time of the planned event, there is a possibility that the [BSV] market price may be subject to manipulation, so we do not make a public date announcement.” It added that it will make a report on payments after they have been made.

The move by the exchange indicates that all users who held BSV in their Coincheck accounts at the time of the hard fork—November 16, 2018—will see those assets automatically converted to yen. Coincheck adds that users who held BCH in their “trading account” or “lending virtual currency account” will not see any conversion, and that the amount of yen delivered might be lower than the market price of the coin. Coincheck also expects to assess a fee for any yen withdrawals. 

The decision has already caused friction in the crypto community. “PaidSockPuppet” said on Reddit, “So, they’re either selling the BSV on the market and then giving the customers fiat, which means the exchange is deciding when and how to sell their customer’s property, or they are buying up their customer’s BSV with no chance for the customers to choose. Either way, it sounds like a pretty shitty deal for the customers. They should get to choose.”

On Twitter, “Mitsuki Yoshizawa” offered, “I feel that there is no credibility of Coincheck anywhere to dispose of human property.”

Coincheck hasn’t had what could be considered a solid history with the crypto community. It was hacked in January 2018, losing 523 million NEM tokens in the process. That made it the largest exchange hack at the time, even bigger than the Mt. Gox scandal. It also decided late last year to remove Dash, Zcash, Monero and Augur from the platform, even though these assets have remained popular. It also reported significant losses in the third quarter of last year and, despite receiving approval by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) for an operating license, has still struggled to stabilize its operations. The decision to remove support for yet another digital asset won’t do much to improve the company’s image.

Bitcoin World: Tokyo

Bitcoin World: Tokyo

Japan is considered to be the leader of the so-called “technological boom,” fueled by the country’s involved in technology for many years. From improved mobile technology to the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as rapid increases in computing power and automation, Japan is the perfect place for innovation with Bitcoin—now reborn as Bitcoin SV (BSV).

In this episode of Bitcoin World, Founding President of the Bitcoin Association Jimmy Nguyen and nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright hang out in Tokyo, Japan—the home of tech, finance, and the honorific home of the mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

“What’s so great about coming to Japan, you’ve got robot shows, super techie toilets, automation everywhere, which I think makes it a perfect place for the Bitcoin blockchain to do some really interesting IoT innovation,” Nguyen pointed out.

To which Wright answered, “And that’s one of the areas we’ve being doing a lot of research on and how we actually securely control and monitor these devices over the blockchain.”

Named for the Satoshi Vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, BSV is dedicated to preserving Bitcoin’s original design. It rests on four pillars: restore the original Bitcoin protocol and keep it stable, allow it to massively scale, while keeping security paramount, and finally, support safe instant transactions for merchants. Recently, the BSV node development team caught three medium severity vulnerabilities in the BSV software. The vulnerabilities, which were likely inherited from the Bitcoin Core (BTC) software and the Bitcoin ABC implementation of Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC), have been fixed in the version 0.1.1 of Bitcoin SV node.

The practice is part, and further proof, of BSV’s aim to be a more grown up and professional cryptocurrency and blockchain, bringing about one global currency that will be used by all people around the world.

“Global adoption, big enterprise usage, so that everyone on the streets that don’t know anything about Bitcoin one day will actually use it, and that’s what we need, the common person,” Nguyen said.

“This is really why Bitcoin is so important. Bitcoin SV is really about making sure that we have the open, honest version of Bitcoin that moms, dads, everyone’s going to want to have… we want the Bitcoin that you use every day,” Wright added.

Japan Blockchain Conference 2019 highlights

Japan Blockchain Conference 2019 highlights

Now on its second year, the Japan Blockchain Conference continued to open the doors of Japan for investors and organizations from around the globe venturing into the crypto and the blockchain space.

Held in Yokohama and supported by the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry and Economic Affairs Bureau, this two-day event showcased latest developments and insights within the ecosystem from top companies and thought leaders in the country and the rest of the world.

One of the key topics this year is the use case of blockchain for various industries and enterprises. Rakuten, Japan’s e-commerce giant and one of the world’s top internet companies, has shared their company’s initiatives with blockchain.

Naojiro Hisada, Rakuten Inc. executive officer, spoke about the developments happening in their company including the Rakuten Blockchain Lab. This project aims to provide platform services for cryptocurrency, key custody and enterprise blockchain. Two of these projects are the Rakuten Energy Trading System (RETS) for data carbon offset trading and R-Star, a coin rewards system that the company rolled out internally. Hisada was mum about Rakuten accepting Bitcoin Core (BTC) payments this year after their acquisition of Everyone’s Bitcoin crypto exchange in 2018. He expects an announcement will be made in April.

Jimmy Nguyen, Bitcoin Association Founding President, spoke about the latest developments in Bitcoin SV. The one and only true Bitcoin has now opened up a whole new world of uses and is set to become the world’s data network and storage carrier after a single, no-hard-fork-needed change within the Bitcoin blockchain protocol was made recently. Nguyen updated the audience about the lifting of the data size limit of OP_Return, the functionality that allows embedding data into the blockchain. This simple yet impactful update now enables a single transaction within Bitcoin SV blockchain to hold 100KB of arbitrary data, and will be much higher in the future. This means that there is a full world of opportunities of what enterprises can do with Bitcoin SV.

When people hear about blockchain, a lot immediately thinks of crypto or even payment methods. However, there is more to blockchain than that. This event has opened conversations about data in blockchain. Some thought leaders from the crypto space—Dr. Craig Steven Wright and Alexander Shuglin—shared their views on data, creating content, monetizing and protecting these through the use of the blockchain.

According to Shulgin, “This decentralized ledger will allow the move of a lot of content.” He added, “Content, especially entertainment and media content will generate so much traffic around this.” He add these useful data will then be mined and be used by future sectors like smarts cities and industrial internet of things.

Wright has shared his views on the internet. He believes that the whole concept of data needs to be free is the biggest problem on the internet. With Bitcoin SV, content creators such as publishers and artists can monetize their data. He added that data wants to be valued, explaining, “When it’s valued, it becomes information and information is critical.”

To watch the full interviews from the Japan Blockhain Conference as it comes out, Subscribe to CoinGeek.com for updates.

Japan Blockchain Conference: Dr. Craig Wright wants to do one thing—give solutions to businesses

Japan Blockchain Conference 2019: Dr. Craig Wright wants to do one thing—give solutions to businesses

Bitcoin SV is in rapid growth and with its emergence, Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a true Bitcoin is alive again with the one and only true Bitcoin—a secure, stable, scalable and regulation-friendly platform where enterprises of the world can build on.

nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright was in Yokohama for the recently concluded Japan Blockchain Conference 2019 and spoke about technical inventions and enterprise uses for the Bitcoin SV blockchain. One of the key points he discussed is storing of data on a blockchain immutably compared to the internet where data privacy and security are at risk.

Wright also talked about one of Bitcoin SV functions that would be of value to enterprises that is EDI or the (Electronic Data Interchange). This is a computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between commercial organizations and even trading partners. As usual, Craig pointed out the importance of privacy.

How EDI will benefit businesses?

With EDI, processes are streamlined and those that consume more time are eliminated. This means that there will be more efficiency as exchanging data can be done within seconds. Accuracy is expected as there will be reduced human intervention leading to fewer human errors. With less human intervention, some expenses related to producing and logistics will be eliminated, which, in return, minimizes costs.

As regards to transactions, these will be done in real time, enabling faster and enabling enterprises make better and improved business decisions. Enterprises will have access to suppliers and customers giving them the opportunity to respond faster to ever changing customers’ demands with more accurate information. An improved business performance will consequently lead to better business relationships.

Wright also added that what they’re working on with the Bitcoin SV blockchain protocol is to provide access to these functionalities. He added, “What I want is companies using data, people using data, people using the blockchain.”

He also pointed out that Bitcoin is not anonymous because it’s meant to be honest, saying, “I don’t want it so that people can do ICO scams. I don’t want any of that stuff. I will help any government quite happily to take that shit down because I want average people using it. I want everyone in this world to have better access to data.”

He added, “We’re just going to do one thing. We’re going to give solutions to business.”

To know more about these enterprise uses, watch the full video.

Japan's SBI Holdings to launch crypto exchange in summer 2018

Japan’s SBI Holdings to launch crypto exchange in summer 2018

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) recently began putting cryptocurrency exchanges under the microscope, causing two to shut down and others to permanently leave the country. While the agency may have had good intentions—to create regulations that would protect consumers—some of their policies were viewed as exaggerated. One financial company is willing to swallow the regulations and has announced that it will open a cryptocurrency exchange sometime this summer.

SBI Holdings, one of the largest financial services companies in Japan, will launch its SBI Virtual Currencies exchange, allowing investors to trade in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and BTC. The company’s president, Yoshitaka Kitao, anticipates using BCH as the settlement currency, given the fact that BTC is expensive and “tiring as a settlement currency.” Kitao added that the exchange’s remittance currency would be XRP.

The official launch date has yet to be announced; however, Kitao said, “When we do it, it will be number one in the blink of an eye so quickly, so even if a tremendous number of customers come, we can build a system that can bear. [sic] We have to pursue safety thoroughly.” The exchange comes after SBI initially announced plans for the SBI Virtual Currencies platform about a year and a half ago. In December, SBI said that it would be partnering with BTC trading platform Huobi and expected the exchange to be ready at some point early this year.

Following the FSA’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, SBI was forced to delay the launch once more as it worked on ensuring that the platform would function in accordance with the new regulations.

SBI was established in 1999 and has several business entities. It is involved in Financial Services, Asset Management, biotechnology-related research and development and a wellness bank. The company reported revenue of just over $3 million for its latest fiscal year ending in March, representing an increase of just under $700,000 from the previous fiscal year.

Two months ago, SBI purchased 40% of cryptocurrency hardware wallet company, CoolBitX, out of Taiwan. The wallet company’s main product is the CoolWallet, which has the ability to interact with other devices over Bluetooth.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
8 crypto exchanges leaving Japan

8 crypto exchanges leaving Japan, 100 more to come

Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has confirmed reports that as many as eight cryptocurrency exchanges have expressed their intention to leave the Japanese market.

The news follows from a meeting held by the regulator last week, which was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Finance and the Consumer Affairs Agency, amongst others.

Following changes in licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan, the FSA confirmed that a number of “deemed dealers” has announced their intention to end their applications for cryptocurrency exchange operations.

Of the eight, according to the FSA, one company now believes it no longer falls within the scope of the licensing requirements, with the remaining seven no longer interested in progressing with their applications.

“Eight deemed virtual currency exchange companies announce the intention to withdraw registration applications…One company confirms that it does not fall under the virtual currency exchange industry as a result of grasping the actual situation in detail,” according to the regulator.

The seven are Mr. Exchange, Campfire, Bit Station, BitExpress, Tokyo Gateway, Raimu, and Payward Japan. Debit completes the eight, as the company that now no longer requires a license from the regulator.

The development comes at a time of flux for cryptocurrency businesses in Japan, following government attempts to tighten up regulation there.

However, despite the increased hurdles to operating crypto exchanges in the country, the FSA revealed as many as 100 new entrants are poised to begin their own applications.

Amongst them is CyberAgent, one of Japan’s leading online TV and advertising platforms, which had flirted with plans for its own cryptocurrency in the past. Its move towards a cryptocurrency exchange comes through its subsidiary, CyberAgent Bitcoin.

However, noting the risks, especially following on from the hack of Coincheck, the firm’s CEO Susumu Fujita was quoted by Itmedia saying the path towards accreditation would be a slow one.

“There are risks that we should not undertake when compared with other projects. Entry is slow in the first place. The examination by the Financial Services Agency is becoming severe,” Fujita said.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Japan pushes exchanges to drop altcoins favored by criminals

Japan pushes exchanges to drop altcoins favored by criminals

What do Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH) and Zcash (ZEC) all have in common? Apart from being rising altcoins, they’re three cryptocurrencies being targeted for removal from Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges. That is, if the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has its way.

The FSA has quietly begun to put pressure on crypto exchanges to remove the digital currencies, assumed to be favorites for individuals looking for ways to launder money and to participate in other criminal activities. The FSA has begun to take measures designed to discourage trading on the exchanges of the altcoin. The decision comes, in part, following a report by Europol last September that highlighted the tokens as the favorites among the filchers.

The seedy underbelly of the cryptocurrency world is said to target the altcoins because they’re less traceable than others, such as Bitcoin (BTC). Many have accused the entire cryptocurrency industry as being a haven for criminal activity, a hypothesis that has been shot down by hard evidence.

The FSA asserts that it is virtually impossible to identify the source and destination information of transactions conducted over the altcoins’ blockchains, making them perfect for nefarious activities. Unlike BTC with its public ledger, they argue, investigators can’t follow the virtual paper trail in transactions conducted over several other blockchains. The agency points out that cyber criminals are increasingly turning to the altcoins when they conduct illegal sales or demand ransom payments.

Japan’s Coincheck cryptocurrency exchange was hacked on January 26, resulting in operations being suspended temporarily. After Coincheck came back online, it had removed the options to trade in XMR, DASH and ZEC by March. The FSA has warned that, while the coins aren’t prohibited, dealing in them could result in license applications being denied.

Following the January hack, which resulted in the loss of $534 million in cryptocurrency, the FSA cracked down on exchanges and implemented more stringent regulations. It ordered two cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down in March, and issued “business improvement orders” to five more.

BTC has been legal tender in the country since April of last year, but the move by the FSA this year has hampered future growth. Several exchanges and blockchain companies have already left the country; with others announcing that they were exploring their options.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Softbank looks to reduce carbon emissions through blockchain

Softbank looks to reduce carbon emissions through blockchain

Blockchains continue to impress. The technology is being used in a number of important applications around the world, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to its versatility. This will be a strong component of the future success of both blockchains and cryptocurrencies, and eventually there will be a time that blockchains are an integral part of everyday business.

The latest example of blockchain’s adaptability comes by way of Japan. An energy trading startup, Power Sharing, is joining forces with Tokyo Electric Power Company and the financial house Softbank to launch a blockchain-based pilot program that will increase renewable energy usage in the rural areas of the country. The program is backed by the Ministry of the Environment, and could be a strong competitor to traditional energy buy-back programs which are cumbersome to manage and more difficult to implement.

The project will be led by Power Sharing, with Softbank providing authentication oversight. The bank will provide analysis on the critical components, like “who, what, when, where, how much.”  That information will then be submitted to the blockchain where it will be transacted and recorded.

The idea is to push awareness of renewable energy in the country, especially to the rural areas. It will incentivize residents to make the switch away from traditional sources, and to sell back any excess capacity to the system. The program doesn’t yet have an official launch date, but it is expected to be ready sometime in June.

Power Sharing was founded in June 2017 for the sole purpose of giving individuals and businesses the ability to buy and sell excess energy. The company hopes to drastically reduce Japan’s carbon footprint and increase usage of renewable energy around the country. According to the company’s website, “For those people who act imaginatively and actively without being constrained by established concepts, we want to design a future power environment.”

The concept is a great one, but Power Sharing isn’t the first to offer an energy buy-back solution. IBM is exploring the use of blockchain in China to help energy-intensive corporations reduce their emissions and trade their CO2 quotas to combat the high levels of air pollution in the country.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Kraken announces withdrawal from Japan

Kraken announces withdrawal from Japan

Cryptocurrency exchange giant Kraken is closing operations in Japan, citing increasing costs as the decisive factor behind the move.

Kraken is shutting down “all of its services” in Japan by June, leaving only a matter of weeks before the company ceases to operate within the Japanese market, Bloomberg reported. The decision has been attributed to rising commercial costs, and in particular the rising costs of compliance for cryptocurrency businesses.

However, Kraken left open the possibility of a return at a future date, should conditions become more favourable.

In a statement, Kraken said the decision will allow them to improve services in other markets, and will not preclude non-domiciled Japanese people or companies from accessing their services:

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

The news comes as the latest blow to the Japanese cryptocurrency sector, following increasing regulatory efforts. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has been increasing its level of scrutiny over exchange businesses operating within Japan, in addition to the current licensing scheme.

Following the recent high-profile NEM token theft from Coincheck in January, and concerns from SBI Virtual Currencies over cyber security that saw them postponing the launch of their new venture in Japan, authorities are continuing to increase their scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

Yet despite recent setbacks, Japan remains one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly in the region, and the wider world. Even this month, new regulations have been proposed which would legalise initial coin offerings, as well as providing a new regulatory regime for ICOs there.

As one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken’s withdrawal from Japan will be a significant loss, specifically to SegWit-Core BTC (also referred to as Bitcoin legacy or Core) and Ethereum community there.

The news comes a matter of days after Yahoo Japan announced its intention to take a 40% stake in cryptocurrency exchange BitARG.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Japan says no plans for central bank-issued cryptocurrency

Japan says no plans for central bank-issued cryptocurrency

Bank of Japan’s deputy governor likens it to allowing private individuals to each have an account with the central bank.

In his closing remarks at the conference with the International Monetary Fund and Japan’s Financial Services Agency on Monday, Bank of Japan’s deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya says there are currently no plans for a central bank-issued digital currency.

Acknowledging the far leap financial technology has made since only a decade ago, Amamiya says recent developments are calling for a reassessment of the central bank’s role in supporting new financial instruments.

“These issues also stimulate global discussions on to what extent central banks should provide their payment and settlement infrastructures to society. I would like to elaborate on these issues further,” he said.

He goes on to explain what implications a central bank-issued digital currency would entail—something that will substantially disrupt the current two-tiered banking system. The current infrastructure is structured so that it is regulated overall by a central bank, which only deals with the second tier—private banks, who in turn deal with individual consumers.

“The modern currency system, which consists of a central bank and private banks, is characterized as ‘a two-tiered system,’” Amamiya said.

Creating a central bank-issued digital currency, according to him, will change that infrastructure into one where intermediating private banks are taken out of the equation, and consumers are directly under the central bank’s wing.

“In this regard, the issuance of central bank digital currencies for general use could be analogous to allowing households and firms to directly have accounts in the central bank. This may have a large impact on the aforementioned two-tiered currency system and private banks’ financial intermediation,” he said.

“Under the current system, the central bank allows direct access to its accounts only to a limited number of entities such as private banks.”

Such a restructure warrants a deeper understanding of the new terrain, he said.

“To sum up, IT innovation raises many fundamental questions and challenges related to the currency system, the design of central bank infrastructure and the utilization of information attached to economic activities. I sincerely hope our understanding of these issues will be further deepened in the future.”

To further understand the implications of blockchain technology, Amamiya said that the central bank has launched projects specifically for that purpose, adding that the Bank of Japan has no plans of creating its own digital currency but may apply the technology in its own infrastructure later on.

“In 2016 the Bank established its ‘FinTech Center.’ The Bank has also been conducting a joint research project called ‘Project Stella’ with the European Central Bank to study the potential of distributed 4 ledger technology. Although the Bank of Japan does not have a plan to issue its own digital currency at this juncture, the Bank fully acknowledges the importance of deeply understanding innovative technologies not only for maintaining financial stability but also for seeking the possibility of applying them to central bank infrastructure in the future. Central banks should always be attentive to on-going innovation, and continue making efforts to provide the best infrastructure to society in accordance with the development of technologies,” he explained.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.