Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange services, has been suspended by Japanese regulators.
According to RT, the Japanese Financial Services Agency issued a formal warning to Binance on Friday. The Agency stated that Binance was violating Japanese fund-settlement rules, but were unclear as to whether or not it would be a criminal charge.
According to Alexa rankings, Japan accounts for about 9% of Binance’s visitors.
“No need to worry. Some negative news often turn out to be positive in the long term. Chinese have a proverb for this. New (often better) opportunities always emerge during times of change.” – Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s chief executive.
It seems that Binance has found its new opportunity. According to Bloomberg, the organization will now be seeking a fresh start in the Mediterranean. They have yet to provide a timeframe, but Zhao said “We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon…Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”
The crackdowns on cryptocurrency in China, Japan, and India have made Hong-Kong a difficult base for Binance.
Binance hopes to soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” on the European island nation. This would allow people to exchange fiat currencies, such as the Dollar or Euro, for cryptocurrencies on Binance’s platform.
Currently, buying cryptocurrency with fiat is mostly limited to the cryptocurrencies that are on the Coinbase platform, which include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Opening fiat to crypto on Binance would allow users to buy many more kinds of cryptocurrencies.
Their other future plans include the creation of a decentralized exchange, but technology development for it has been slow.
The past couple months have been tough sledding for cryptocurrency holders. After the insane bull run that saw all cryptocurrencies reaching a collective market cap of near one trillion dollars during the holiday season, the crypto market pulled back significantly and many projects that soared to unprecedented heights found their valuations shattered in the span of several disheartening weeks.
One of the projects that benefited most from the bull run was the South Korean blockchain platform ICON. At its all-time high, ICON ($ICX) held a market cap valuation of more than four billion dollars that pushed the price of each individual ICON over $12 dollars. While the token remains eight dollars below its all-time high, Icon has surged more than +50% in the past two days behind speculation of new exchange listings, several promising ICO’s and an imminent token swap from the minted ERC-20 token to Icon’s native blockchain.
— Korean Cryptocurrency & Blockchain News (@BlockchainROK) March 21, 2018
Bithumb, the fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, processes close to one billion dollars worth of transactions a day and the listing of ICON is a major accomplishment for the Korean team. A day later, the tech startup announced they had been listed on UpBit, another top Korean exchange.
With South Korea viewed as the most forward-thinking cryptocurrency community in the world, the dual listing of ICON on Bithumb and Upbit is evidence of a team that achieves state goals in a timely and efficient manner. Further rumors that ICX could be traded on the second biggest Korean exchange, CoinOne, sent primed traders into a buying frenzy.
Last week, Bithumb signed a monumental deal with BitPay that will allow businesses to convert invoices into Bitcoin and use BitPay’s service to settle them quicker than conventional banking institutions.
Speaking to CNBC, BitPay chief commercial officer Sonny Singh suggested that over $200 billion dollars worth of cross-border payments will be made between South Korea and The United States in 2018. Speaking on the inefficiencies in current banking and payment infrastructures, Singh had the following to say:
Right now, people are doing cross-border payments […] and paying bank wires, FX fees around 4% and it takes about four days. Using Bithumb and BitPay, we’re able to make this a 1% fee in one business day.
As ICON raced up the charts and supplanted all other alternative currencies on Binance’s 24hr volume chart, the hype machine spilled over. Some commentators predicted that the South Korean blockchain startup could soon appear on other top exchanges like Bittrex, Bitfinex & possibly even Coinbase.
Other bullish indicators for ICON include a list of ICO’s that plan on launching through on the ICX blockchain. ICO’s that fundraise through ICON’s platform will have to use the ICX token to participate leading to speculation that demand will be high for ICON tokens while the supply dries up. Similarly, ICO’s have helped Ethereum and NEO grow into some of the largest valuations in the community.
I think $ICX bull run has just begun. Getting listed on bitthumb pro already with bitthumb listing coming in 4 days. Upbit (co founded by Bittrex) has confirmed $ICX listing. These are #4, #5, and #6 exchanges in volume, respectively. Shit is about to get real.
In late February, the ICON team announced the launch of their wallet service, ICONex, which runs as a chrome extension and will be available for iOS & Android users within the next few months. According to leadership, a token swap from the ICON’s current Ethereum chain ERC-20 token to a native ICX platform will take place in the next month:
We are currently preparing the ERC20 token to ICX coin Swap. We are working on the details and cannot give you the exact schedule at the moment, however we expect the Token Swap to start next month.
Even after the Token Swap process begins, the ICX ERC-20 tokens will be able to make transactions. After a period of several months with many announcements about the Token Swap, the ERC-20 tokens will be burned.
At the end of January, ICON announced six ICO’s that will crowdfund on the ICX platform between Q2 & Q3 of 2018. Among the decentralized apps included are Blue Whale (ecosystem for workers compensation), Tink (an anonymous social media voting platform), & UPPSALA (a security intelligence platform).
ICON’s close relationship with corporate and government entities within tech powerhouse South Korea have investors salivating about the potential growth of the new cryptocurrency. With a plan to ‘hyperconnect the world’ and major partnerships with Forbes & Bloomberg in the pipeline, 2018 could very well be the year that ICON reaches the mainstream visibility and valuation of other top crypto projects.