Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- The Japanese cabinet has ruled that local authorities may not seize cryptocurrency holdings in the case of individuals that default on their tax payments. The cabinet also says national tax bills cannot be settled in cryptocurrencies. Per Jiji and Nikkansports, the ruling comes after a tax body in Neyagawa, in the Osaka Prefecture, seized just over USD 1 (122 yen) in cryptocurrency from a local man who had failed to pay an outstanding tax bill. The cabinet discussed the matter after an MP questioned the legality of the tax authority’s move.
- Thailand’s Excise Department wants to use a blockchain platform to provide oil exporters with tax refunds. Per the Bangkok Post, the ministry intends to launch the platform “by the middle of next year.” The ministry calculates excise taxes after exporters make shipments, but companies that overpay often have to wait for tax refunds. The new solution, says the ministry, will help speed up the process and allow for more thorough tax payment inspections.
- And Thailand will look to boost cryptocurrency-related business and tighten regulations after the country’s regulatory Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced plans to amend an existing royal decree on digital asset businesses next year. The Bangkok Post reports that the SEC is “aiming to facilitate the growth of digital assets while protecting investors from unnecessary risk.” The SEC added that it wanted to remove “stumbling blocks” and promote “flexibility.”
- South Korean e-commerce platform Fortis says it has launched blockchain business operations, and has partnered with a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange named Token Can. Per Paxnet, the company has also made a slew of high-profile blockchain hires, with a former Chairman of the Korea Communications Commission joining as an external director, and a former chief attorney general taking on the role of auditor.
- The Philippines’ Ministry of Science and Technology will team up with Singapore-based tech provider BCB Blockchain to collaborate on a smart city project, reports Japanese media outlet Next Money. The agreement has also seen the company stump up USD 300,000 in funding for Philippines-based incubators and startups as part of a project operated by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development.
- The U.S.-based crypto payments startup Fold, that enables Bitcoin (BTC) cashback during shopping, announced that it's now also available for all iOS and Android users. Also, Airbnb, Sephora and Domino's have been added to the Fold platform.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Binance says it has established a partnership with Band Protocol, a decentralized data oracle platform backed by Sequoia. The exchange’s new deal means it will be able to provide price data for over 600 pairings on its platform. Decentralized oracles are third-party or decentralized data feed services that make use of multiple sources to ensure that data is tamper-proof.
- Coinbase will allegedly be hiring c. 10 of Omni’s engineers, as Omni, a marketplace that lets users rent products from nearby stores, is closing shop after being unable to make the economics of equipment rentals and physical on-demand storage work out, reports TechCrunch.
- The Washington D.C.-based crypto startup Gladius Network LLC said it has closed operations and has filed for dissolution. The reason is that the company no longer has funds to continue operations, they said, but the code will remain available on GitHub for the next three months. This comes after the startup reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February regarding the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO), per which Gladius was supposed to refund investors who participated in the USD 12.7 million sale.
- A ransomware outbreak hit a Wisconsin-based IT company Virtual Care Provider Inc. (VCPI), which provides cloud data hosting, security and access management to more than 100 nursing homes across the United States, reports KrebsonSecurity. Unknown attackers encrypted all data the company hosts and is demanding a USD 14 million ransom in Bitcoin in exchange for a digital key needed to access the files.