Op-Ed: South Korea’s new president aims to take crypto to the next level

Op-Ed: South Korea’s new president aims to take crypto to the next level
Plans including raising the crypto tax threshold and legalizing ICOs are welcome, but will they give South Korea the shakeup it needs?
President Yoon Suk-Yeol plans to raise the current crypto tax threshold from around $2,000 to approximately $40,000. The current president Moon Jae-in lost the opportunity to take the country forward with a more positive crypto policy, in a country where last year Koreans invested over $43 billion in crypto assets in 2021.In April 2021 younger investors filed a number of petitions for example complaining how crypto assets were being taxed at a less favorable rate than stocks. Now this victory means that their voice is being heard, which I believe is great news, not just for the crypto industry, but for this new generation of investors. But at the same time, as someone involved in the Korean market since 2017 while I welcome the reports coming out of Yoon’s Presidential Transition Committee, I also know what matters is what happens after the new president takes office on May 10.

There is a risk the new government decides to allow investing in ICOs, IEOs, and STOs only to those above a certain income, to accredited investors. Certainly, the news of a new Basic Digital Asset Law, to enable the recovery of funds lost from illegal trades and scams is very welcome. But at the same time, a balance has to be struck, so the younger generation of investors in their 20s and 30s, who consist of around 36% of the market, feel they have a stake in the new system.

I also note that play-to-earn games are still illegal with no plans to change that. So, it’s somewhat ironic that the recent $620 million hack of Axie Infinity was reportedly carried out under the auspices of the North Korean government. While South Korea and the US are therefore looking to work more closely on cybercrime, there is a risk that the US will also seek to put pressure on the South Koreans to take a more highly regulated approach to crypto more in line with emerging US policy.

Will the prospect of a growing NFT market bear fruit?

What I do expect is for the market in NFTs in South Korea to grow in the future. And I think this presents a window of opportunity for the new government to take a positive approach. While the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is reportedly working to introduce NFT rules, this is yet to happen. Another potential source of frustration within the investor community is the complexity of using exchanges with different travel rule systems.

Among the big four exchanges Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit (with over 95% of the crypto market share), there are two travel rule systems. Upbit with the lion’s share of the exchange market has adopted its home-grown Verify VASP program, while the remainder follows another system. So, it’s perhaps good to know that Yoon’s Presidential Transition Committee is also “looking to grant more cash-to-crypto licenses to crypto trading platforms in efforts to dilute the local crypto exchanges oligopoly”.

Another overlapping issue is the dominance of the Upbit exchange in the South Korean crypto market. What’s interesting to me is seeing the concerted move by local banks to enter the crypto market. Part of the banks’ motivation to approach the incoming government is down to the fact that Upbit has over 80% of the market share.

This is underlined by the fact that Dunamu, operator of Upbit, posted a net income of 2.2 trillion won (around $1.8 billion) last year, with the figure growing 46-fold on-year. The news reportedly “shocked onlookers, as it drew near Woori Financial Group, a major banking group here. Woori posted a net income of nearly 2.6 trillion won in the same period”, according to the Korea Herald.

Banks fight for a slice of the crypto pie

Allowing banks to take apart on a more equal footing with exchanges certainly marks a step forward with potential implications for competition in regional crypto markets as well as internationally. Certainly, in Singapore, we have seen a tightening of regulations since the ICO boom years of 2017/18 which attracted so many crypto startups.

This stricter regulation has prompted startups to leave for the likes of more crypto-friendly Dubai, including global exchange Binance which recently withdrew an application to register in Singapore, instead setting up an office in the UAE.

The economic risks of not moving fast enough are also shown in the UK, where despite government plans for crypto growth there’s been significant criticism of its regulator, the FCA, for being too slow in processing crypto license applications to allow crypto startups to operate.

So, while I believe South Korea is likely to try to be more open, it’s going to be a tricky path to walk to keep all the different segments onboard, from crypto industry stakeholders to expectant younger investors. The ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say, because while the incoming government might talk about plans to legalize ICOs it may in the fine print only be available to people who have say $1 million in assets.

However, on a more optimistic note, I do agree with crypto commentators such as Anthony Pompliano that South Korea’s crypto plans are potentially a significant step on the world stage. Yoon Suk-yeol is the first head of state from a major economy that says it plans to take crypto really seriously, including protecting the public; however, it’s also worth noting that outlined plans to set up a dedicated government agency for crypto and NFTs did not make it into the final copy of his campaign pledges.

Speaking recently in Korea on the same platform with a member of the People’s Power Party, I said that crypto and blockchain was the future. We now have to wait and see how well that promise and potential is delivered.

 

Original Source: https://cryptoslate.com/op-ed-south-koreas-new-president-aims-to-take-crypto-to-the-next-level/

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j

Op-ed: Bitcoin Dominance and What It Really Means for the Crypto Market

Op-ed: Bitcoin Dominance and What It Really Means for the Crypto Market

When Bitcoin first came on the scene a decade ago, it was the only cryptocurrency available. It had 100% of the crypto market share at the time. Until 2017, Bitcoin accounted for approximately 95% of the cryptocurrency sector’s market capitalization. The rise of altcoins such as Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), and Litecoin (LTC) has eroded Bitcoin’s market dominance. Despite the emergence of altcoins, Bitcoin continues to account for over 70% of the cryptocurrency market until January 2021, when its relative dominance has declined. This is despite reaching an all-time high in April of $64,000 and the price of Bitcoin rising to a new all-time high of $66,000 on October 20, boosted by news that the first Bitcoin ETF. The general rule is that when BTC dominance goes up, altcoins lose value against BTC. And when BTC dominance goes down, they gain value. So, is this well-known trend changing in 2021?

Why is Bitcoin still so dominant?

At the beginning of March there were 12,170 altcoins on the market, according to CoinMarketCap. Despite these figures, investors continue to put over 50% of their funds into Bitcoin when investing in cryptocurrency. When some investors are deciding how to diversify their portfolios, there is clearly a “Bitcoin bias” at work. Because Bitcoin is both the most well-known and trusted cryptocurrency, it serves as an entry point into the crypto world for most people. As the price rises with a bull market, people see it as a good investment and want to get into the market. We’ve seen time and again that when the price of Bitcoin rises, new entrants flock to the crypto market. As a rule, when money flows into Bitcoin rather than other cryptocurrencies, the price of Bitcoin rises, extending Bitcoin’s dominance. Then we see the reverse happening, as investors putting their Bitcoin profits into large altcoins, all the way down to small-cap altcoins, before returning to Bitcoin. The cycle keeps returning to Bitcoin because it is the entry point for most new cryptocurrency users.

We saw a significant decrease in Bitcoin’s dominance in January, which fell from 73 percent to 40 percent. As of today, it still has a market share of less than 50%. During this time, the largest altcoin, ETH, has increased in value by about 400%, while Bitcoin has only increased by about 70-80% – what is possibly a key reason why Bitcoin has been losing its dominance in 2021. Plus, when the price of Bitcoin goes up savvy crypto traders know that this often has a beneficial impact on altcoin value, especially Ethereum which has grown in popularity with the Eth2 upgrade and the proliferation of DeFi apps based on the platform.

We also can’t ignore the fact that the valuations of the major altcoins are skyrocketing in price, despite a few glitches along the way such as Solana’s (SOL) recent outage; it’s now a question of why put your money in Bitcoin when there are more rewarding crypto assets? We believe therefore that the rise in altcoin valuations is the key driver for the current reduction in Bitcoin’s dominance, despite the twin all-time high price rises to over $60,000 this year so far. The pace of innovation in Ethereum and rival altcoins’ numerous upgrades to meet market demands, are key factors contributing to their growing dominance relative to Bitcoin.

Another solid reason why Bitcoin’s dominance is slipping, is down to the maturing nature of the 2021 crypto market. Noting the growth in size of the overall crypto market value in 2021, Frederick Vold, writing in CryptoNews, points out that the total market capitalization crossed the $2.5 trillion mark in mid-October:

“It is worth noting is that bitcoin’s dominance of the overall crypto market valuation is lower now than during the all-time high which the bitcoin price hit in April. Back then bitcoin’s share of the crypto market made up about 54%. As of today, the bitcoin dominance is around 44%-46% (depending on a data provider), having remained relatively stable around 40% since mid-May.

“The slightly lower bitcoin dominance this time around indicates that more altcoins are experiencing growth in their market capitalizations. However, it is also important to note that the number of altcoins is constantly rising, which, all else equal, reduces bitcoin’s share of the crypto market,” Vold added.

BigONE’s View

BigONE believes Bitcoin acts as a bridge for new users to enter the cryptocurrency market, as the best known and most widely publicized in the mainstream media. It is easier to persuade new users of the value it offers because it has stood the test of time and is the most reputable cryptocurrency, especially when fears of Ponzi schemes persist in the market. “There are a lot of scams and criminal operations that target individuals and it’s very important to recognise that in an unregulated market there is no recourse,” says Ian Taylor, the chief executive of lobby group CryptoUK in a recent FT article. Bitcoin also serves as an entry point for large institutional investors and regulators interested in learning more about the crypto space. Along with worries about rising inflation, spurred on my rising energy prices and raw material costs, institutional investors can now get safer exposure through the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. It ended with $1.1 billion under management on Wednesday October 20 after trading volume topped $1.2 billion, according to a press release. That’s the quickest that an ETF has reached the $1 billion-mark, Bloomberg Intelligence data confirmed.

We believe that user trust in other cryptocurrencies is still growing and that this will be the deciding factor in the battle for crypto market ‘dominance’. In addition, Bitcoin’s influence is beneficial to the crypto space because it acts as a “trust gateway” for new entities and users to understand and invest in the crypto space. As Shaun Heng, vice president of growth and operations at CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency ranking and analytics platform, told Cointelegraph: “Although Bitcoin is volatile, I believe it will still dominate the market for a while to come. Bitcoin is the basis for which all other cryptocurrencies were made, and while I don’t expect to see it reach the heights it did in the past, I also don’t think it will fall off considerably in the foreseeable future.” Chairman of BigONE Anndy Lian said that in the long term it was unlikely that Bitcoin would reach the heights it had in terms of dominance at the start of 2021. “The crypto market’s rapid change, from the rise of stablecoins like USDT and BUSD, to the popularity of meme coins like Dogecoin, is the backdrop for the decline of Bitcoin’s dominance. However, I believe the price of Bitcoin is set for even greater all-time highs in the near future, and with new Bitcoin ETFs coming on stream, it’ still the cryptocurrency of choice for investors.”

 

Original Source: https://www.securities.io/bitcoin-dominance-and-what-it-really-means-for-the-crypto-market/

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j

Op-ed by Anndy Lian: The rise of the use of blockchain and crypto in Southeast Asia

Op-ed by Anndy Lian: The rise of the use of blockchain and crypto in Southeast Asia
By Anndy Lian – Oct 29, 2021 | 09:25 AM GMT+7

TheLEADER A recent Chainalysis report showing stellar growth in cryptocurrency adoption in Central and Southeast Asia (CSAO), making it the fourth-largest crypto market in the world, should come as no surprise.

According to the blockchain analytics firm, the region saw a 2 per cent growth in global market share between July 2020 and June 2021. Which may on face value does not sound significant, but this growth made CSAO the fourth-largest cryptocurrency market in the world, with over $572.5 billion in value sent during the year. This number represents 14 per cent of total global cryptocurrency transactions – and a growth rate of 706 per cent for the region for the year July 2020 to June 2021.

This rosy regional picture of Southeast Asian crypto development had a reality check when on September 24th, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced that all cryptocurrency transactions in China are illegal.

“Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities,” the PBoC confirmed, warning it “seriously endangers the safety of people’s assets”. Is this a sign that crypto innovation in Southeast Asia is stalled, or are there good reasons for optimism despite the China ban?

“We will see an increasing exodus of Chinese crypto entrepreneurs, and I believe it will lead to a diffusion of crypto technology in Southeast Asia and accelerate the rise of Southeast Asia as a hotbed of crypto innovation,” said Singapore-based Lily Z. King, writing in Forkast.

King suggested an upside to all the FUD caused by the ban, which will drive a significant decentralization of crypto power from China to other markets, particularly Southeast Asia.

“As the economy of Southeast Asia has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, the new inflow of crypto capital and technology might bring a much-needed boost for their digital economy. Taking the long-term perspective, this diffusion is good for the builder-type among Chinese crypto entrepreneurs and is good for the crypto movement globally,” she concluded.

If that thesis is correct, what existing trends in crypto/blockchain are likely to simply accelerate, rather than jump-starting new innovation?

In the Chainalysis report, which to note looks wider than Southeast Asia to include central Asia and Oceania, there has been a marked growth in decentralized finance (DeFi) activity. From May 2020, DeFi activity (as a share of all transaction volume) skyrockets, reaching above 50 per cent by February. This activity is primarily driven by Uniswap, Instadapp, and dydx, with significant activity on Compound, Curve, AAVE, and 1inch.

But behind these insights what can we see in regional user and business adoption that can help understand the possible impacts of the China ban?

The island-state of Singapore is widely regarded as a leading force for crypto and blockchain adoption. According to a Hacker Noon article, there are 634 companies incorporated in Singapore related to crypto, with a total value of $8.3 billion according to CoinMarketCap.

Despite this existing activity, in late 2020, a new multi-million-dollar program was launched to strengthen Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem. One of the program leaders, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said the need for such support was due to the lack of large-scale successful use cases outside the fintech sector which was hampering mainstream adoption.

“Its nascence means end-user companies have a lack of codified business models on how to work together using blockchain’s trusted environment. The industry is showing signs of silo-ed, specialized, blockchain solutions rather than interoperable network blockchains,” said IMDA.

The IMDA also noted that support for startups seeking like-minded partners was lacking. While the Singapore Blockchain Ecosystem Report 2020, published at the end of last year, found that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the application of blockchain technology, used to verify health credentials.

A key driver for crypto businesses setting up shop in Singapore, independent of the latest China ban, is the regulatory clarity provided by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). And indeed, Singapore is already home to many Chinese crypto companies, including Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange founded in China.

“Singapore provides the regulatory clarity with various regulations for different kinds of crypto activities (payment tokens, securities, custody, crypto fund management, etc.). Naturally, that would be attractive for any crypto companies, whether from China or elsewhere, to consider setting up shop in Singapore,” said Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman of Blockchain Association Singapore.

Consider the demographics of the region’s top six economies (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) with a combined population of around 580 million, of which half are aged below 35.

In terms of grassroots adoption of crypto, as opposed to business adoption in Southeast Asia, Vietnam not only tops the rankings for the region but for the world when calculated in terms of the transaction volumes for peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

As Chainalysis reported, for their 2021 global report, many residents use P2P cryptocurrency exchanges as their primary on-ramp into cryptocurrency, often because they don’t have access to centralized exchanges. Another reason given for the high uptake in Vietnam is the interest in gambling, which as its illegal gives a boost to demand for such activities through crypto-assets.

Southeast Asia also has a sizable unbanked population, primarily found in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Of the estimated 1.7 billion unbanked people today, 290 million live in the region. This is another contributing factor behind the high P2P uptake, certainly, it’s why Facebook’s crypto wallet Novi is predicted to have a high uptake in the region.

In the Philippines for example, 71 per cent of adults do not have a bank account, according to a 2019 report by the country’s central bank. And unlike the US where younger users have failed to drive Facebook adoption, in the Philippines, almost 33 per cent of the users are aged 18 to 24. This user profile is supported by figures from Metamask, with Filipinos making up a fifth of its ten million active monthly users – driven by the success of the NFT-based game Axie Infinity which allows people to earn by playing.

“The largest swath of gamers on the platform come from the island nation – a little more than 40 per cent – according to the powerhouse behind Axie Infinity, a Vietnamese startup called Sky Mavis,” according to Business Insider.

“The biggest driver for crypto over the next few years is not going to be DeFi, it’s not going to be opening up centralized exchanges. It’s going to be GameFi,” Lu said in a recent Forkast report.

“GameFi is going to drive the crypto adoption in Southeast Asia and South Asia…blockchain games and a play-to-earn sector is what is going to take the adoption of non-crypto users and [turn] them into crypto users once they realize that they can earn more money or supplement their earnings with the game where they can play for two hours, three hours. It’s pretty crazy,” Lu confirmed.

The rich diversity of crypto adoption, whether successful crypto-based businesses or grassroots play-to-earn gamers, shows that there is great potential in Southeast Asia.

While Singapore in many ways is leading the way, the need as identified by the IMDA for interoperable network blockchains underlines that there has to be coordinated action from all stakeholders, to make Singapore the world’s leading user of decentralized technology, faced with the concerted efforts of the Chinese state to be the dominant blockchain power.

Whether it’s better serving the needs of the unbanked, or leading the way in the use of blockchain to spur medical research, the opportunities for innovation are there for the taking.

 

Original Source: https://e.theleader.vn/the-rise-of-the-use-of-blockchain-and-crypto-in-southeast-asia-1635393795663.htm

 

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j