• Blockchain and cryptocurrency jobs are increasingly appealing to job seekers from conventional sectors in Asia.
  • Blockchain technology has been adopted by both start-ups and more established corporations.
  • Recruitment firm Robert Walters said it has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of roles related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies in Asia since 2017.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency jobs are increasingly appealing to job seekers from more conventional sectors in Asia — even as the technology’s most famous use case struggles on the price front.

Blockchain technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, is a digital record of transactions that cannot be altered. It has the potential to not only disrupt much of finance, but also many other industries.

The much-hyped technology has been adopted over the last two years by both start-ups and more established corporations. Mainstream interest in the space picked up last year as cryptocurrency prices soared late in 2017.

If job postings are any indication, that trend is going to grow. Recruitment firm Robert Walters said it has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of roles related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies in Asia since 2017, with developers with Python language skills among the most highly sought after.

A cursory search for blockchain jobs on LinkedIn yields results for openings at corporations like IBM along with positions at newer businesses, such as cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

And there’s also strong interest from job seekers: According to data from job search engine Indeed’s main Asian markets (Australia, India, Singapore and Malaysia), there’s been high interest in blockchain roles.

Due to its relative nascency, however, many of those entering the cryptocurrency and blockchain-related space are coming from other industries.

“We hardly ever hire from inside of crypto because most people inside of crypto are very inexperienced. You have very, very few people who are experienced who get into the crypto industry,” said Julian Hosp, co-founder of Singapore-based crypto wallet and card start-up TenX.

In fact, even though there are plenty of blockchain enthusiasts looking to join the industry, “not many people have the actual skill sets” required for developer roles, said John Mullally, director of financial services at Robert Walters in Hong Kong.

Volatility

But as cryptocurrency prices wax and wane, so to have the levels of interest for companies in the space when it comes to recruitment.

“If crypto is doing well, if people are making money in crypto, we get huge inbound from people because they feel like, ‘I need to jump on this wave,'” Hosp told CNBC.

“And then when you see crypto going down — and we saw this at the very beginning [of this year] and we’re seeing this right now — then we see that immediately the demand of people, they’re like, ‘Oh no, this is a dying industry, I shouldn’t go in there.’ So it’s completely emotional,” he said.

Indeed data show Asian job seeker interest in bitcoin-related positions peaked as prices of the digital currency rose in the second half of 2017. Bitcoin job interest trended lower after the digital currency came off its record high set last December.

Interest in blockchain-related positions, however, has stayed in an uptrend, Indeed data showed.

“The situation in Asia seems to mirror the U.S. in that bitcoin [job search] trends are much more volatile (and related to price volatility) and resulting media coverage while blockchain and cryptocurrency searches have seen a more consistent upwards trajectory,” an Indeed spokeswoman said.

Lag effect

For other outfits in the developing space, prices of crypto assets have had less of an effect on interest.

In the last three to six months, an increasing number of traditional finance professionals have been more interested in looking to make a move into crypto, said Justin Chow, Asia head of business development at Cumberland — the cryptocurrency division of proprietary trading company DRW.

Most of Cumberland’s employees come from trading or capital markets backgrounds, with the company saying it viewed hiring at its cryptocurrency arm the same as how it viewed hiring across all asset classes.

The lag effect between the present pick-up in interest and the peak in bitcoin prices in December was probably because finance professionals didn’t want to immediately drop their entire careers based solely on last year’s surge in prices, Chow said.

But Cumberland’s situation is a little more unique when compared to start-ups operating in the cryptocurrency space, given its ties to an established financial firm. For capital markets professionals, the price of an asset in decline was not a big issue and hadn’t deterred interest in those looking to enter the segment, Chow told CNBC.

A similar lag has played out in China, which banned initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges last year, but is seen to have remained enthusiastic on blockchain technology.

“It’s maybe after February, we suddenly see a lot of influx of talent from traditional venture capital funds … and investment banks in China. It could be said the Asian or the Chinese talent are a little slower than their European or American counterparts to come into this field,” said Wayne Zhu, a founding partner of NEO Global Capital, the venture capital fund arm of the NEO Foundation. That foundation supports the NEO cryptocurrency, which is one of the top crypto assets by market cap.

The driving force for finance professionals in China to take the leap has partly been the capital market environment in the country, where activities such as initial public offerings are strictly regulated.

“It’s this predicament of the capital market here that leads to more and more people wanting to try something out in the crypto space,” Zhu said.

“You have a much harder time trying to close deals and making money in the capital market for the last several years, that caused people to think about, ‘Where (can I) actually close deals, (where can I) actually help companies to get money, to get liquidity and the money they need to grow their business?'” he added.

‘No different’ from an internet firm

On the whole, those currently entering the sector come from a wider range of professional backgrounds as start-ups develop and mature.

Apart from professionals from a tech or financial background, many with experience in marketing, public relations and operations are now also joining the industry.

Those who got into the blockchain space last year tended to have either technical or banking-related experience as positions available then were mostly limited to development or trading, said Zhuling Chen, co-founder of smart contract platform Aelf.

“We’re looking at distributed applications, so that’s where every single entity is expanding into a fully fledged start-up … so now I see blockchain companies are no different from an internet company or technology company,” Chen said. “I think that’s also because, right now, blockchain is more than just trading, it’s more than cryptocurrency.”

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A biotechnology firm called Carverr is using an innovative new method to store cryptocurrency private keys in synthetic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) at the cost of USD 1,000.

Bitcoin and other crypto private keys give complete control of a wallet to whoever holds them, and properly storing and securing a private key is essential to maintain control of funds. If a private key is lost then the crypto is completely unrecoverable. Customers who sign up for Carverr will receive five vials containing a DNA sequence corresponding to their private key.

DNA is probably the oldest form of memory storage in the world. It stores the entire genome of all living organisms. Scientists can create synthetic DNA and store information in it, since it fundamentally stores info with four nucleotides, A, C, G, and T. Memory on a computer is stored in binary, 0 and 1, so scientists give each nucleotide a corresponding binary value. The private key is broken down into binary, and then transposed into DNA format.

This provides an extra layer of security since even if someone steals the vial containing the private key, that person would have to know the algorithm Carverr is using to decode the sequence. Also, DNA will be around forever and will always use the same four nucleotides, unlike digital data which can drastically change long term. A standard hard drive used to store data might become unreadable in the future due to technological paradigm shifts. Additionally, for added security, a user of this service can send the encrypted private key to Carverr instead of the readable private key.

Storing data in synthetic DNA has tremendous potential, since each gram, the size of a jelly bean, can store 215 petabytes of data. A petabyte is 1,000 terabytes. This means that all the data in human history can easily be stored in a single vial.

A caveat to this method is DNA can break down from sunlight, heat, and bacterial contamination so it must be tightly sealed and stored in a dark freezer. Private keys only use a tiny amount of data, probably less than 1 kilobyte, so the DNA equivalent would be microscopic and extremely fragile.

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Cryptocurrency investors are patiently waiting for the arrival of the Bakkt cryptocurrency exchange, with the hope that it will bring institutional investors, more retail participants, and maybe even Bitcoin availability in 401k accounts. Its launch is planned for November of this year, and it is backed by the trading titan Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owners of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), so there’s good reason to be excited. ICE has also partnered with Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boston Consulting Group.

With the SEC’s recent denial of numerous Bitcoin ETFs, the hope is that Bakkt will introduce a product which is appealing to institutional investors who have so far avoided the cryptocurrency markets, due to worries of manipulation or the lack of trustworthy custody options.

Bakkt Wants Institutional Investors

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Bakkt has been touted as a potential onramp for institutional money. The company themselves revealed in a tweet this week that it is “designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant, and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security, and utility.” But are these pledges enough to attract investors who have so far steered clear of the cryptocurrency markets? Many believe that some institutional investors have already quietly entered the cryptocurrency markets, but can the NYSE owners bring them in droves?

Is It Suitable?

We reached out to many experts in the space to gauge the likelihood of Bakkt becoming a hit with institutional investors. Some were of the belief that Bakkt is the solution that some of these potential new participants have been waiting for, with one caveat: the lack of margin trading will limit volume and adoption.

Nodari Kolmakhidze, Chief Investment Officer at Cindicator, has five years of experience of active trading and asset management. Kolmakhidze believes that Bakkt’s association with ICE and their partners shows that more and more traditional market participants and retailers are interested in cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies. He told [blokt]:

“The usage of the established market infrastructure of Intercontinental Exchange in connection with the goal of creating a fully regulated market can certainly inspire trust and can lead to more institutional participants entering the field. For Bakkt it will be crucial to build up knowledge about crypto market specifics either through internal learning, hiring or experienced professionals.”

Andrew Yang, COO at BlockFuse, told [blokt]:

“Bakkt will help as it offers a custodial solution for institutional investors.  But more importantly, it will look and feel like a traditional stock to them. This will only make it easier for people to invest in Bitcoin rather than having to go through the process of downloading a cryptowallet.”

Aleksander Dyo, President and Co-Founder of Token IQ, said that “The alignment of Bakkt and Coinbase will likely have a catalyzing effect of legitimizing the blockchain space in the eyes of institutional investment.” Dyo believes, however, that the inability to use leverage for trading on Bakkt will mean that we won’t necessarily see huge amounts of money flooding into the platform. He said:

“This does not mean, however, that institutional investment dollars will flood in to participate in such an ecosystem. This is because it does not preclude those same investors from entering into the crypto space by leveraging alternative methods. Put simply, since BTC still gets its price discovery through amalgamated scores from existing exchanges, educated and savvy investors will need to have a lot of incentives to move away from those exchanges and services.”

Craig Kellogg is the Co-Founder of WORBLI. He has 20 years of fin-tech experience – including Wells Fargo, US Bank, and GE Capital. Kellogg echoes Dyo’s beliefs: that the lack of margin trading will prevent adoption by serious institutional traders:

” Asset-backed (auditable) exchanges will instill greater public confidence than the current standard of off-blockchain trading systems with no public transparency.  Institutional investors though will not find comfort in the lack of margin trading available with this approach.  It is a good next step, but not the “end game” in the mainstream integration of cryptocurrency into the traditional equities markets.”

Constantin Gurdgiev, Professor of Finance at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, CA, also makes some interesting points on the limitations within the Bakkt platform. Gurdgiev says that the positive features of the Bakkt platform, namely “‘Physical’ underlying and a delivery system that excludes primary leverage,” will create an environment with limited volume. He told [blokt]:

“Both features can lower market price and volume volatilities, and improve market liquidity. However, the lower the leverage and the shorter the option underlying the product, the more restrictive the volume traded on platform. In other words, the stronger quality of the offering comes at a price.”

Gurdgiev continued:

“Bakkt platform is more likely to be attractive to the marginal cypto investor – a buy-and-hold younger investor currently less likely to wade into pure trading platforms/exchanges, but risk tolerant enough to take a small diversifying exposure in Bitcoin. This type of an investor is also more sensitive to execution platforms, and in this context Microsoft and ICE backing for Bakkt does represent a relative advantage over crypto-only venues. An added value to Bakkt for buy-and-hold investors is platform’s better risk resilience to hacking, as ‘physical’ settlement system can limit potential risk exposure across the trading volumes that can be subject to cybersecurity risk. However, Bakkt is not likely to attract professional or institutional traders and investors, because they either require leverage or are relatively hedged against leveraged trading risks. This problem presents a dilemma for Bakkt. In order to generate significant volumes of trading to secure liquidity and efficient price discovery, Bakkt trading will require some access to leverage, if only outside the platform. Financialization of Bakkt contracts outside the exchange – on the balancesheets of investors and traders – will most likely be an issue down the road.”

Building the Foundation for a Bitcoin ETF Approval

With the trusted NYSE name behind Bakkt, and a regulated, compliant platform available to investors, regulators may be satisfied that the cryptocurrency market is approaching maturity. The SEC stated previously that the existing Bitcoin Futures market is not big or mature enough to power a Bitcoin ETF. Maybe the Bakkt platform can put the SEC’s mind at rest.

Carol Lin at Bx3 Consulting said:

“I believe Bakkt is the cure to a lot of ills for the cryptocurrency community. Traditional investors trust the NYSE name and brand, and so do regulators. Institutions will have a much easier time investing know the people behind the exchange. The fact that we will finally have a fully compliant and regulated exchange leads me to believe ETF approval is on its way.”

It’s not just compliance that the SEC will be looking for in an exchange providing the underlying to a Bitcoin ETF. A sound custody solution and ownership of the physical assets are essential factors, both of which Bakkt will provide.

Kolmakhidze told [blokt]:

“The arrival of a new market participant with a successful track record and the goal of creating a fully regulated market could also have a positive impact on the approval of financial instruments such as an ETF, as the SEC has stated among its reasons for rejecting the latest ETF proposals that the market is not yet mature enough and is subject to manipulation. Bakkt has communicated that it sees the physical delivery of Bitcoin as a critical element in its solution and that margin trading will not be supported.”

Kellogg said:

“Bakkt is listening to and learning from the EFTs which have not been approved by addressing the issues related to futures/derivatives markets and source of truth for asset pricing.   By addressing these issues, once reviewed the SEC will need to approve or move their objections on to a new level of depth which we have not yet seen.”

According to the experts, the lack of margin trading on Bakkt could put off some of the larger institutional traders, but what is clear now, is that we are heading towards market maturity. With this maturity, we will see more traditional products and investors come to the market, maybe sooner than expected.

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MITA and the University of Malta have now announced a blockchain technology fund for 300,000 euros, which will be distributed to students over the next three years.

Malta, home to some of the most promising cryptocurrency and blockchain companies thanks to its relaxed framework, is now taking new strides in the world of distributed ledger technology. The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) and the University of Malta are now teaming up to create a 300,000-euro blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) scholarship fund.

Who Will Receive the Scholarship?

The funds will be provided to students who specialize in law, finance, engineering and information and communications technology (ICT). The funds will be distributed over a period of three years. Students in the coming school year can take the scholarship for Masters and PhD research dissertations related to blockchain and DLT. However, the funds will be available for courses that carry at least 30 ECTS credits directly related to DLT. Once these conditions are fulfilled, students will be provided with full sponsorship for the course.

Supporting Malta’s Blockchain Ecosystem

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Malta’s digital economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said that the scholarship would support endeavors to attract blockchain companies to its soil. Creating the necessary human resources that these companies will need locally is a great step toward improving employment, as well as handling the headaches of these foreign firms.

Dr. Schembri added:

“These companies need technical resources both to build and to operate by use of this technology, as well as experts in financial services, law, and managerial roles.”

He also noted that he looks forward to seeing several Maltese students placed in prominent positions in these organizations.

University of Malta rector Alfred Vella added that the university would continue to have an internal exercise for reviewing degree and Master’s programs in the areas of finance, ICT, and law. These courses will likely include units related to regtech, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, fintech, blockchain, and DLT. The review will further the government’s strategy of making Malta “the blockchain island.

Tony Sultana, MITA executive chairman, said that the agency is planning to collaborate with other educational institutions along similar lines. It is also expected to carry training sessions for employees in the public sector to help them familiarize with the technologies. The next milestone in MITA’s timeline will be the Delta Summit, a large blockchain and digital innovation summit held in October, where it is collaborating as the main information technology partner.

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With adoption increasing worldwide, cryptocurrency is making its way into the mainstream. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the latest country to join the movement, as Adab Solutions launches the first-ever Sharia-compliant cryptocurrency exchange.

Growing Popularity of Crypto in Islam

UAE-based startup Adab Solutions is set to launch the First Islamic Crypto Exchange (FICE) compliant with Sharia law, reports Trade Arabia.

To maintain compliance with Sharia law during operation, Adab Solutions will consult with an in-house Sharia Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of internationally-renowned Sharia experts.

Given its finite supply and frictionless transferability, cryptocurrency is seemingly a fitting asset class in compliance with the tenets of Islamic law, which denounces financial systems that depend on usury.

In a press release, Timu Turzhan, CEO and founder of Adab Solutions, said:

“Ideas that correspond to the norms of the Shariah are based on the understandable material value, have a clear business strategy, and this allows us to confidently assert that halal projects are incomparably safer more successful than the beautiful signs of many cryptocurrency initiatives… Our team is dedicated to its business and will do its best to achieve all the goals set.”

Related: Saudi Arabia Officials: Cryptocurrency Trading Illegal

The company will launch its initial coin offering (ICO) for Adab tokens in Septemeber.

Adab tokens will function as utility keys that unlock the trading platform and act as the default payment method for commissions paid on the exchange.

Through the FICE launch, over 1.8 billion Muslims will potentially have access to Sharia-compliant cryptocurrency trading services that weren’t available before.

Recently, CryptoSlate reported that Saudi Arabia, a neighboring Islamic country, is prohibiting cryptocurrency trading for domestic residents.

Sharia Compliance Extends to Stellar

Adab Solutions is not the only cryptocurrency to enter the Middle East. On July 17, the Stellar network revealed that it is now permitted to service financial institutions that require compliance with Islamic financing principles.

Related: Stellar Enters the Middle East, Becomes First Cryptocurrency to Gain Sharia Certification

After reviewing their application, the Shariyah Review Bureau approved Stellar’s financial applications and awarded the company an official Sharia certification.

Through the Sharia certification, Stellar became the first distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocol to enter the money transfer and asset tokenization sectors in countries of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

According to the official press release:

“Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) and parts of Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia and Malaysia) will now be able to integrate Stellar technology in their Sharia-compliant product and service offerings. This is a big advancement for the Stellar network given that these regions are endpoints of popular foreign worker remittance corridors.”

The Sharia certification extends to applications and use-cases for Lumens (XLM), Stellar’s native cryptocurrency. By using lumens, users in the Middle East and Southeast Asia will have access to more affordable payment remittance channels when sending money across borders.

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The international remittance market is huge. In 2016, migrants from the world over sent in excess of $580 billion to their home countries. The scenario has changed considerably in the last two decades, before which the field was primarily the domain of banks and a handful of high-street brokers. Now, people get scores of FinTech overseas money transfer companies from which to choose. Customers, it appears, are set to gain even more going forward, mainly because of the benefits blockchain has to offer.

The Ripple Effect

Some of the leading money transfer companies have already turned to blockchain. Market leaders Western Union and MoneyGram have started testing the blockchain technology offered by Ripple. InstaReM, an Asia-based money transfer specialist, has tied-up with Brazil-based BeeTech, also an international remittance company, soon after both signed up with Ripple.

Incidentally, even some prominent banks have jumped on Ripple’s blockchain bandwagon. Examples in case include the Latin American Itau Unibanco Holding SA, the French Crédit Agricol, and India’s IndusInd Bank.

Blockchain Benefits

International money transfer companies can benefit by adopting blockchain technology in different ways, and then pass them on to their customers.

  • Making transfers more cost effective. Data suggests that the average cost of making a cross-border money transfer through a bank is around 11%. With fintech companies, the average drops to around 5%. Only, even the fintech players rely on banks to function as intermediaries. With blockchain comes the possibility of doing away with banks completely. This would make overseas money transfers even more cost effective.
  • Increased reach. Large populations in Asia, Africa, and South America remain under-banked, and this has an adverse effect on their ability to send or receive payments to or from overseas. However, given the widespread usage of mobile phones, cryptocurrency wallets hold the potential to simplify how they deal with cross-border remittances.
  • Faster turnaround. Most banks take days to process overseas money transfers. With international companies, you still have to rely on banks to do the needful. Cryptocurrency transfers, on the other hand, can go through in near real time.
  • Increased security. The centralized manner in which most money transfer companies and banks operate leaves them vulnerable to online attacks of different kinds. Blockchain, on the other hand, functions in a decentralized way, which makes attacks much more difficult to execute. In addition, every blockchain-based transaction is recorded in a digital ledger that is impossible to fudge.
Are There Downsides?

There is one drawback that may well stay in place until the technology becomes common place. The sender typically needs to purchase a cryptocurrency using a fiat currency, and the receiver then needs to sell the cryptocurrency to purchase a fiat currency. In such a transaction, currency conversion takes place twice. There’s also the fact that most people still need to deal with a basic cryptocurrency learning curve.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that blockchain technology holds the potential to bring about significant changes in the international money transfer market. With increased security, better cost effectiveness, and quicker transfers, the benefits are rather plain to see.

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With micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines comprising over 90% of the country’s establishments, there is an opportunity to introduce smart technology and allow small businessmen to tap into the e-commerce market, said Rommel Santos, CEO of Malaysia-based Smart Asset Managers (SAM).

SAM is in the Philippines to roll out its Dinar Dirham Koin (DDK), a blockchain community platform that aims to empower MSMEs in the region using the emerging technology.

“The MSMEs are vital in building an inclusive and dynamic economy for the people,” Ramos told Cryptovest as he called on small businessmen to explore new opportunities and to be innovative in looking for new ways by boldly opening new ventures.

He added, “We are aware of the crucial role MSME play in creating a better future for the people, and we will assist you and provide you with guidance to achieve this task.”

According to Ramos, SAM is answering the call of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to encourage digital payments and transactions in the country’s retail segment. The plan is to use blockchain and digital payments to uplift the lives of the majority of Filipinos and the unbanked and underserved sectors by providing them financial services as well as access to financial institutions.

Through digitization, the government and SAM hope to raise the competitiveness of the retail sector.

He explained SAM’s DDK offers a wide range of sophisticated features from secured payment, direct or peer-to-peer transactions that eliminates delays in the approval or transaction process. Through blockchain technology, MSMEs could cut operational cost because they can do away with third-party transactions.

More importantly, he explained DDK allows users to transact with micropayments, “meaning we can send or receive payment from .0001 DDKoin with minimal transaction fees.” This makes it ideal for retail transactions in the Philippines, he added.

The success of blockchain adoption among MSMEs hinges largely on the rapid acceptance of the QR Code standard to further boost the development of the country’s payments and settlements system.

The QR code will pave the way for an effective retail payment system that could transform the Philippine economy as it brings business transactions and the savings generated through a shift from paper-based to digital instruments.

“You can just imagine a micro-entrepreneur who is used to transacting in cash involving only the equivalent of a few centavos to a few dollars but is now doing business electronically and cashless. That is disrupting their lives. It will give them access to financial institutions and credit facilities not normally available to them. That is the essence of financial inclusion,” Ramos said.

Early this month, Congressman Seth Frederick “Bullet” Jalosjos, of the first district of Zamboanga del Norte, announced that the southern region of Mindanao in the Philippines would be the first area in the country to be powered by crypto and blockchain technology.

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Following a rollout of buy and sell options for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC)  yesterday, Yahoo clarified in an email to Cointelegraph that, at the moment, its new service will only be available on its iOS app.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that Yahoo Finance integrated a trading option for BTC, ETH, and LTC on its platform when buy/sell buttons appeared on their website. When the buy/sell buttons were absent from the webpage today, Yahoo Finance PR representative Caitlin O’Neill explained:

“[Y]esterday’s launch was for the iOS app only — it should still be available and visible there. Desktop, mobile web, and Android will be available in the coming weeks.”

At press time, Yahoo had not explained why the option was temporarily available on desktop computers.

According to an August 30 press release, users that wish to trade crypto on Yahoo Finance will have to link a broker account via integrated third party service TradeIt.

“The new feature, launched this week on the iOS app, allows users to buy and sell a variety of cryptocurrencies by linking their account – via an integration with our partners at TradeIt –  including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dogecoin. Android, desktop and mobile web are coming soon.”

Mobile

Meanwhile, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are seeing corrections today, with BTC down by 1.76 percent in 24 hours, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index. BTC is trading at around $6,918 at press time. On the week, BTC is up 6.39 percent, with monthly losses around 15 percent.

ETH is trading at around $278 at press time, having lost 3.21 percent over the last 24 hours. While ETH’s weekly gains remain just over 1 percent, monthly losses are getting close to 39 percent.

LTC has lost almost 3 percent on the day and is trading at around $60 at press time. Market capitalization of LTC is around $3.5 billion, while its trading volume over the past 24 hours totals around $218 million.

Dogecoin (DOGE), which has no limit to how many coins can be mined, currently has almost 116 billion in circulation. The altcoin is up by 26 percent on the day and is trading at around $0.0033, at press time. DOGE reached a $1 billion market capitalization in January of this year, when it was worth more than the Japanese yen, while at press time its market cap is around $384 million.

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In response to a reported increase in the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) plans to introduce new software which can track cryptocurrency transaction history, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization NHK reported August 30.

In 2019, the National Police Agency will reportedly put special software into service to track the history of virtual currency transactions within the country. The move comes as part of an effort to fight the increased level of cryptocurrency misuse and thefts.

In order to cover the expense of the new software, the NPA is looking to increase its budget by 35 million yen (around $315,000) for the next fiscal year.

The software was developed by a private company, the name of which has not been disclosed. According to the NHK, the software can extract transaction data needed for an investigation, visualize it from open records, and show what crypto exchange operators used the currency for.

Earlier this month, Tokyo-based security software manufacturer Trend Micro found Bitcoin (BTC) automated teller machine (ATM) malware available for purchase online. For the price of $25,000, criminals could purchase BTC ATM malware accompanied by a ready-to-use card with EMV and near-field communication capabilities, allowing fraudsters to receive the BTC equivalent of up to 6,750 U.S. dollars, euros, or pounds.

Last week, the commissioner of Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), said that the agency wants the cryptocurrency industry to “grow under appropriate regulation,” adding that it has “no intention to curb [the crypto industry] excessively.” The FSA’s goal is reportedly to develop the crypto industry and find a “balance” between consumer protection and technological innovation.

Prior to that, the FSA revealed the results of its on-site inspections of crypto exchange operators, noting that “substantial” ongoing review of registration procedures will be necessary. The FSA probe found that crypto exchanges’ maintenance and control systems had failed to keep pace with exponential growth in transaction volumes.

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Economic and financial affairs ministers from the European Union’s (E.U.) 28 member states will reportedly hold an informal meeting on the challenges posed by digital assets and the possibility of tightening regulations, Bloomberg reported August 29.

According to a draft note seen by Bloomberg, participants will discuss a general lack of transparency and the potential for cryptocurrency to be used for tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering at a September 7 meeting in Vienna, Austria.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has previously warned customers about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), citing a lack of investor understanding and problems with unregulated financial activities. The ESMA also noted that unregulated exchanges are unprotected due to their existence outside of global financial regulations, which means that customer losses from an event like a cyberattack would not be covered by E.U. law.

Despite previous warnings from E.U. financial watchdogs, the document obtained by Bloomberg says that ICOs “have established an effective and efficient way to raise capital.” The document reportedly also states that ICOs could help integrate capital markets in the E.U.

The E.U. Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive came into force on July 9. Measures within the directive set a new legal framework for European financial watchdogs to regulate digital currencies. The new rules enact stricter transparency requirements directed at the use of “anonymous payments through prepaid cards” and  “virtual currency exchange platforms” for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing.

In March, the ESMA strengthened requirements for Contracts For Differences (CFDs) in cryptocurrencies. In accordance with the introduced rules, investors must have enough funds to cover at least half of a contract value upon opening, changing the leverage limit of cryptocurrency CFDs to 2:1 from 5:1 at opening.

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