Regulators are closing ranks on crypto


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Regulators continue to step up their scrutiny of cryptocurrencies, with South Korean central banks and tax authorities showing new concerns.

In a report released Wednesday, the Bank for International Settlements, the global body of central banks, says digital tokens such as bitcoin have few redemption characteristics and “work against the public good.” He also rejected stablecoins – a link between crypto and conventional assets – as an “appendix” to traditional currency.

Unsurprisingly, the BIS has endorsed the development of central bank-backed digital currencies, saying they could be a tool to achieve greater financial inclusion and reduce the high costs of payments. “Central bank digital currencies. . . offer in digital form the unique advantages of central bank money: settlement purpose, liquidity and integrity, ”he said.

In contrast, the energy wasted in bitcoins and cryptocurrencies were “speculative assets rather than cash, and in many cases they are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes ”.

South Korea has taken action against the financial crime of tax evasion, with more than 53 billion won ($ 47 million) in bitcoin, ethereum and other crypto-assets confiscated from 12,000 people. Officials said it was the largest “tax arrears cryptocurrency seizure in Korean history” and noted that local exchanges were allegedly used to conceal assets because they had not collected the registration numbers of the account holders’ residents. Many of South Korea’s 60 crypto exchanges are struggling to meet the regulatory requirements to operate beyond September.

This week’s #techAsia newsletter asks if the end of cryptocurrency is over. This could be the case in China, where it is stepping up testing of its official digital renminbi, and seems serious about eradicating the crypto industry on its soil. Bitcoin fell below $ 30,000 on Tuesday following the latest regulatory crackdown, but recovered to be worth over $ 34,000 today.

The Internet of (five) things

1. Migrant workers locked up in Taiwan
As Taiwan is under pressure to increase manufacturing output to alleviate global shortages, particularly in semiconductors, electronics groups like Japan’s Canon and Innolux, a subsidiary of Apple supplier Foxconn, have been blamed. for locking up migrant workers in the middle of a Covid-19 epidemic. Some companies have banned migrant workers from leaving the dormitories where they live, except to go to work.

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2. SoftBank is not a “one-man show”, says Son
Masayoshi Son told shareholders that SoftBank would not prioritize short-term business gains because the company behind the world’s most aggressive tech fund has been toasted for governance failures after the collapses of Greensill and Katerra. At his annual meeting of shareholders, the 63-year-old billionaire founder defended the governance structure of the Japanese conglomerate, saying the board of directors was not “Masayoshi Son’s one-man show.”

3. Toshiba’s “dark arts” and dirty tricks
Today’s big read sets the stage for Japan’s most controversial annual shareholder meeting in decades. At the center is the fate of Osamu Nagayama, the well-respected Toshiba chairman who risks being swept aside by a massive shareholder revolt that could – in a single vote on Friday – sack the entire board of directors of the one of the most famous industrial names in Japan.

4. The “Amazon effect” hits American wages
Companies struggling to find workers as the US economy reopens have blamed higher unemployment benefits, limited immigration and child care issues. . . and Amazon. The e-commerce leader aggressively recruited last year, hiring 500,000 people globally, while in the US he paid at least $ 15 an hour before benefits – double the salary federal minimum.

Line graph of average hourly earnings, unadjusted ($) showing pandemic demand increased wages for warehouse workers

5. US Removes Iranian Websites
US authorities have seized dozens of websites linked to Iranian groups, including the Revolutionary Guards, accusing them of spreading disinformation and operating in the country without authorization. The Justice Ministry said 36 websites had been taken down, 33 of which were operated by the Islamic Union of Radio and Television of Iran.

Tech tools – Brave and Vivaldi push privacy

Pro-privacy browser Brave has launched a global beta of its Brave Search search engine, Techcrunch reports. The untracked search engine is offered as one of several search options that browser users can choose from (including Google’s), but Brave says it will search for it by default later this year. Meanwhile, a version 4.0 of Vivaldi, which offers similar browser privacy features, was released this month. It has now added translation and options to add email client, calendar and RSS reader.

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