Tag Archives: Korea

South Korea regulator flags better deal for cryptocurrency industry
February 21, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – A better deal for South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry might be in the offing as the market regulator changes tack from its tough stance on the virtual coin trade, promising instead to help promote blockchain technology.

The regulator said on Tuesday that it hopes to see South Korea – which has become a hub for cryptocurrency trade – normalize the virtual coin business in a self-regulatory environment.

“The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation,” said Choe Heung-sik, chief of South Korea’s Finance Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters.

The latest news suggests authorities might adopt a lighter regulatory touch, a step change from the justice minister’s warnings in January that the government was considering shutting down local cryptocurrency exchanges, throwing the market into turmoil.

FSS has been leading the government’s regulation of cryptocurrency trading as part of a task force.

Cryptocurrency operators see Choe’s comments as positive step for the industry’s plans for self-regulation.

“Though the government and the industry have not yet reached a full agreement, the fact that the regulator himself made clear the government’s stance on co-operation is a positive sign for the markets,” said Kim Haw-joon of the Korea Blockchain Association.

South Korea banned the use of anonymous bank accounts for virtual coin trading as of January 30 to stop cryptocurrencies being used in money laundering and other crimes.

Three local banks including Shinhan Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, NH Bank, are currently offering cryptocurrency accounts to around five local virtual coin exchanges.

Choe said that Kookmin Bank and KEB Hana Bank may have also put in place an appropriate system, though they haven’t as yet started handling transactions.

“I hope they (the banks) no longer fear authorities once they have the right system,” Choe added.

An official from FSS told Reuters tough regulatory oversight of illegal trade in cryptocurrencies will remain in place.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP, the world’s most heavily traded cryptocurrency, is now changing hands at a three-week high of $ 11,160 on the Luxembourg-based Biststamp exchange after falling as low as $ 5,920.72 in early February.

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has already started production of cryptocurrency mining technologies, local media reported in January.

Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam

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South Korea says uncovered about $600 million in cryptocurrency crimes
January 31, 2018 6:14 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea has uncovered illegal cryptocurrency foreign exchange trading worth nearly $ 600 million, a sign authorities are tightening the regulatory screws on the digital asset that many global policymakers consider to be opaque and risky.

The country’s customs service said in a statement on Wednesday that about 637.5 billion won ($ 596.02 million) worth of foreign exchange crimes were detected.

“Customs service have been closely looking at illegal foreign exchange trading using cryptocurrency as part of the government’s task force,” it said, underscoring stepped-up efforts by Seoul to crack down on illegal trade in the digital asset.

Illegal foreign currency trading of 472.3 billion formed the bulk of the cryptocurrency crimes, Customs said, but gave no details on what action authorities were taking against the rule breaches.

South Korea has adopted a tough stance on regulating cryptocurrency trading as many locals, including students and housewives, jumped into a frenzied market despite warnings from policy makers around the world of a bubble.

Effective from Jan. 30, authorities will allow only real-name bank accounts to be used for cryptocurrency trading designed to stop virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other crimes.

Among other breaches, Customs said there were also cases where investors in Japan sent their yen worth 53.7 billion won to their partners in South Korea for illegal currency trade.

It said authorities will continue to monitor for any violations of foreign exchange rules or of money laundering activities.

Seoul previously said that it is considering shutting down local cryptocurrency exchanges, which threw the market into turmoil and hammered bitcoin prices. Officials later clarified that an outright ban is only one of the steps being considered, and a final decision was yet to be made.

Bitcoin stood at $ 9,800.00 as of 0502 GMT on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. The heightened regulatory scrutiny around the world, however, has seen bitcoin dive about 31 percent so far this month, on track for its biggest monthly decline since December 2013.

Cryptocurrencies got another jolt last week after Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck said hackers stole over $ 500 million in one of the world’s biggest cyber heists.

($ 1 = 1,069.6000 won)

Reporting by Dahee Kim and Cynthia Kim; Editing by Sam Holmes & Shri Navaratnam

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South Korea to impose new curbs on cryptocurrency trading
December 28, 2017 6:00 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s government said on Thursday it will impose additional measures to regulate speculation in cryptocurrency trading within the country.

“The government had warned several times that virtual coins cannot play a role as actual currency and could result in high losses due to excessive volatility,” the government said in a statement.

It noted that trading prices of most virtual currencies were much higher on South Korean exchanges than they were on exchanges in other countries, although it did not provide specific examples.

The steps will include a ban on opening anonymous cryptocurrency accounts and new legislation to allow regulators to close virtual coin exchanges if needed, a measure recommended by the justice ministry, the statement said.

South Korea had previously announced its plan to tax capital gains from cryptocurrency trading to tackle what it sees as the risk of excessive speculation.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, has gained more than 19-fold this year.

In South Korea, bitcoin has been extremely popular, drawing wide participation from housewives and students. As of 0304 GMT, it stood at $ 14,384 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Sam Holmes

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U.S. to blame North Korea for 'WannaCry' cyber attack: sources
December 19, 2017 12:50 am|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to publicly blame North Korea for unleashing a cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The accusation that the North Korean government was behind the so-called WannaCry attack comes as worries mount about North Korea’s hacking capabilities and its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. government has assessed with a “very high level of confidence” that a hacking entity known as Lazarus Group, which works on behalf of the North Korean government, carried out the WannaCry attack, a senior administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet public.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The public condemnation will not include any indictments or name specific individuals, the official said. But the shaming is designed to hold North Korea accountable for its actions and “erode and undercut their ability to launch attacks,” the official said.

North Korean government representatives could not be immediately reached for comment. The country has repeatedly denied responsibility for WannaCry and called other allegations about cyber attacks a smear campaign.

Lazarus Group is widely believed by security researchers and U.S. officials to have been responsible for the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which destroyed files, leaked corporate communications online and led to the departure of several top studio executives.

Sony also suspended release of a comedy film that portrayed North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong Un, because of threats issued by the hackers.

Then-U.S. President Barack Obama condemned Pyongyang for the Sony hack, vowing at the time to “respond proportionally.” No indictments have been brought in the Sony case.

Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Peter Cooney

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raceAhead: Three Podcasts to Help You Understand Things, Charles Manson’s Race War, Life in North Korea
November 21, 2017 12:01 am|Comments (0)

If one thing has become clear during the two years of working the race beat at Fortune is this: Everything has a backstory. Our ability to understand and embrace these hidden histories can help us all become more curious, aware, empathetic and informed.

Here are three podcasts that I’ve recently enjoyed that brought a fresh perspective to something I already thought I knew a bit about. Turns out, I was missing more than just some interesting facts. Enjoy.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim is a delightful podcast, and ordinarily a breezy conversation between two friends, Tanzila ‘Taz’ Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh, about their complicated modern relationship with faith, love, social justice and American life. They took a break from their usual dish to join an annual pilgrimage to Manzanar, a Japanese American internment camp just north of Los Angeles. This year’s visit commemorated the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which ordered the incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Executive orders matter, yo.) The trip was organized by the Vigilant Love Coalition and their Bridging Communities program, which draws parallels between the Japanese experience post-Pearl Harbor and the experience of Muslim Americans today. “Today we are retracing the humanity of a group of people who our country shamelessly mistreated,” the tour guide begins. While Taz and Zahra continually hand the mic to other pilgrims and survivors to make sure their stories are heard, the bigger message is clear. “Your citizenship will not protect you,” one woman tells them.

Every installment of Second Wave is a revelation and a thoughtful exploration of the experiences of Vietnamese Americans in the aftermath of a war that hasn’t ended for everyone. One delicious example is Pho, part savory noodle-dish, part iconic comfort food born in a faraway land and now, a dish ripe for cultural appropriation. Seemingly out of the blue, the dish has been embraced by hipster chefs in the U.S. and turned into a barely recognizable version of itself, with pho experts everywhere making fancy derivations like pho dumplings, pho salads, even rolling “phorritos.” Host Thanh Tan sits with two women who have made their own careers with the noodle dish, writer Andrea Nguyen and chef Yenvy Pham, owner of Pho Bac in Seattle, and have a fascinating conversation about what the soup meant to both the working class and elites in Vietnam, and the uncomfortable peace they’re making with its gentrification stateside. And then the talk turns to a scandal you may have missed — the recent Pho-gate, and their ultimate defense against the ultimate erasure.

I’ve fallen hard for Uncivil, a new Gimlet podcast about the Civil War that explores the stories that have been left out of history if you get my drift. Again, there are no wrong choices, but for the purposes of digging into a juicy backstory, start with their eye-opening exploration of the true origins of Dixie, the unofficial and still beloved anthem of the Confederacy. The common knowledge was this: Dixie was a Confederate anthem, written by a Southerner, during the dark days of the Civil War. As usual, the common knowledge is completely wrong. There are a couple of twists before we get to the painful truth, an erasure so profound that it’ll get you whistling Dixie yourself. Hosts Chenjerai Kumanyika and Jack Hitt are both excellent. But later in this episode, Kumanyika talks about “coon spaces,” a framing for performative blackness for the benefit of white audiences. It yields one of the richest conversations I’ve heard in ages. In this instance, it’s with a musician named Justin Robinson, who both understands the true roots of the song and has performed it with a sense of dignity and restorative justice. It didn’t quite work. “They invite you to dehumanize yourself for profit, for their pleasure, to deepen their sense of identity,” says Kumanyika of the “coon space” dynamic. “You’re sort of hitting on the head what it means to be black in America or indigenous in America,” Robinson begins.

On Point

Cult leader Charles Manson dies having failed to achieve his dream of a full-on race war
It’s an element of his cultish control over his “hippie” followers that often gets the short shrift. His murderous rampage was not just an attack on the Hollywood elite. It was a full-throated attempt to incite a race war that would – insert magical thinking here – end with him running the world. The Root has a great explainer here. I’d also point you to another podcast, currently in production called Young Charlie. It unfolds as the breathless true crime it actually was, but also gives rich context to the person Manson was and the country he was planning to overtake. Not only did he fall through every possible crack in his young life, he was monstrously smart and profoundly cynical, fully prepared to leverage a racist country for his own benefit.
Wondery
How rapper Meek Mill has come to personify criminal justice reform
Rapper Meek Mill is back in prison for a parole violation stemming from various criminal charges he faced over a decade ago. And now, the Philadelphia home town hero has become a flashpoint in a long overdue conversation about reform and judicial overreach. If you haven’t been following the story, then this explainer from the Washington Post will get you up to speed. But don’t stop there. Read this op-ed from Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation reps Mill, but who has also become increasingly outspoken on justice reform issues. “On the surface, this may look like the story of yet another criminal rapper who didn’t smarten up and is back where he started,” he begins. But Mill was nineteen when he was sent to jail for drug and gun possession and served an eight month sentence. “For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.”
Washington Post
Lena Dunham under fire for siding with friend accused of sexual assault
The man in question is Girls writer Murray Miller, and he was accused by actor Aurora Perrineau. While the backlash was swift and followed by a penned apology, writer Zinzi Clemmons has decided enough is enough. In a statement posted to Twitter, she announced that she will no longer be contributing to Lenny Letter, Dunham’s online feminist newsletter. “She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us,” she writes. She also describes the casual racism, and worse, that she believes defines Dunham’s circle, many of whom she was acquainted with in college. “It is time for women of color — black women in particular — to divest from Lena Dunham,” she says.
Twitter
What it’s like to live in North Korea
The Washington Post has interviewed 25 North Koreans who have lived, in some capacity, in the country under Kim Jong Un. Their tales are uniformly grim and disappointing. They all thought that the millennial leader would bring fresh ideas and much-needed change to a country crippled by generational dictatorship. Instead, things got worse, as the state broke down and the economy crumbled. The only way to survive is the constant hustle of dealing in bribes and the illegal/informal economy. The threat of state violence, they say, is ever-present. “I once went for six months without getting any salary at all. We lived in a shipping container at the construction site… Once I didn’t bathe for two months,” said one construction worker who escaped in 2015.
The Washington Post

The Woke Leader

Princeton University comes clean on race
Here’s just one example: Researchers have recently found evidence that Samuel Finley, the school’s fifth president, sold his slaves in front of his stately 18th century clapboard home, once a popular stop on the campus tour. That is just one of many stories being brought to light as the institution works to reconcile it’s complex past. To that end, it’s worth spending time with the Princeton and Slavery Project, an evolving work of depth and honesty that includes primary documents and articles highlighting the university’s long history of slavery-related funding and racial violence.
New York Times
The bleak and poignant history of black NASCAR drivers
After a 46 year dry spell, a black rookie driver is set to become the first full-time black driver since Wendell Scott stopped driving in 1971. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., is set to drive car number 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports next season. “There’s only 1 driver from an African-American background at the top level of our sport … I am the one,” he said on Twitter. “You’re not gonna stop hearing about ‘the Black driver’ for years. Embrace it, accept it and enjoy the journey.” But it’s worth remembering Scott, the very first black driver, who braved Jim Crow laws and death threats to persist in the sport. He won money and acclaim, but never the traditional post-race kiss from the white beauty queen. Click through for the real deal history.
Atlanta Blackstar
Take a jazz lesson with Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste
Batiste, the less-well-known of the two jazz greats, is the leader of the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” band, and absolutely holds his own with Marsalis, during this hour-long segment on the genius of jazz from The Aspen Institute. The conversation includes plenty of music and technical talk, like how pentatonic scales originally came from Africa. It also weaves in discussions of painful elements of life under the English plantation system, which also exploited Irish people. The strange mix of race, culture, and oppression found its way into the alchemy known as blues and jazz.
YouTube

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Smartphone addicts get street warning signs in South Korea
June 26, 2016 2:20 am|Comments (0)

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Smartphones can be dangerous. Not because they may potentially cause cancer (that’s a valid concern), but because people are so glued to them and often not looking at what they’re walking into on the street.

With the help of the National Police Agency, Seoul, South Korea’s Metropolitan Government is taking preventive measures to warn the city’s citizens to be more aware of their surroundings when using their smartphones.

The Seoul government unveiled two traffic signs as a part of a pilot program, which you can see below. One sign, “Warning: Using Smartphone while Walking,” is for warning pedestrians about the dangers of getting hit by a car while using a smartphone while crossing the street. Read more…

More about Safety, Warning Signs, Signs, Asia, and Smartphones


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