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31/01/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. Japanese Chat App Line Moves into Crypto

Japanese chat app Line announced the launch of its new company “Line Financial Company” on its website. The move will allow the Japanese firm to include cryptocurrencies in its portfolio, and to compete with services such as Facebook. 200 million people use the messaging app every month, while the payment service has 40 million users. Currently, the company is focused on Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan. However, it hopes to increase its presence in other countries with this move. Its application for a cryptocurrency license is currently under review. A marketplace will be established through the company, where people will be able to trade cryptocurrencies as well as receiving loans and getting insured.

2. South Korea Will Not Ban Crypto Exchanges

The South Korean Finance Minister has stated that cryptocurrency trading and exchange platforms are not going to be banned in the country. According to Kim Dong-yeon, the country will not follow China’s stance towards the crypto market. The extent of the backlash caused may have affected the decision. The news comes a day after new rules were introduced. Providing a real name is now compulsory when trading with cryptocurrencies. Failure to do so will result in penalties. Considering that South Korea has one of the largest Bitcoin trading volumes, this is big news for the crypto market.

3. Pre-sale of Venezuela-owned Cryptocurrency Petro To Go Live On February 20th

We previously reported Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to issue an oil-backed cryptocurrency, which would be called Petro. A date has now been released. Maduro is planning to start the cryptocurrency pre-sale on February 20th. Petro would be available to the 15 million Venezuelans holding a national I.D. card. Furthermore, mining farms are being established in universities and schools. Despite the president’s enthusiasm, the opposition has labelled the initiative illegal, as well as a debt issuance to deal with the country’s financial problems. The US has also commented on the initiative, saying that taking part in the sale would undermine the sanctions issued against the country.

4. Samsung To Issue Chips To Mine Cryptocurrency

Samsung was recently crowned the largest chipmaker in the world, taking the title away from Intel. It is now moving quickly by announcing it will start producing chips aimed at mining cryptocurrencies. Not many details have been released. However, it will partner with an unnamed Chinese distributor. The South Korean company will face competition from the market leaders Bitmain and Canaan Creative, both partnering with Taiwanese TSMC. The latter has benefited from an extra $350–400 million added to their quarterly revenues, thanks to the sale of these chips.

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