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Digital Dodge: Some Greeks Using Bitcoin to Evade Currency …

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Jul 032015

There is at least one legal way to get your euros out of Greece these days, to guard against the prospect that they might be devalued into drachmas: convert them into bitcoin.

Although absolute figures are hard to come by, Greek interest has surged in the online “cryptocurrency”, which is out of the reach of monetary authorities and can be transferred at the touch of a smartphone screen.

New customers depositing at least 50 euros with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based bitcoin exchange, open only to Greeks, rose by 400 percent between May and June, according to its founder Thanos Marinos, who put the number at “a few thousand.” The average deposit quadrupled to around 700 euros.

Using bitcoin could allow Greeks to do one of the things that capital controls were put in place this week to prevent: transfer money out of their bank accounts and, if they wish, out of the country.

“When people are trying to move money out of the country and the state is stopping that from taking place, bitcoin is the only way to move any value,” said Adam Vaziri, a board member of the UK Digital Currency Association. “There aren’t any other options unless you buy diamonds, and that’s very difficult to move.”

But Marinos said the bitcoin buyers’ main aim was to shield their money against the prospect that Greece might leave the euro zone and convert all the deposits in Greek banks into a greatly devalued national currency. If voters reject the demands of international creditors in a referendum on Sunday, this becomes much more likely.

“A lot of people are keeping all the bitcoins they buy on our platform, until they understand what to do with them,” Marinos said. “In their eyes, now they have bitcoins, they’re safe.”

That said, the value of a bitcoin, a web-based digital currency invented six years ago that floats freely and is not backed by a government or central bank, has been highly volatile.

It peaked at over $1,200 in late 2013 before crashing almost 70 percent in less than a month after a hacking attack on the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox in early 2014.

This week, as Greece defaulted on a debt to the IMF, the price jumped to a 3-1/2-month high of $268 BTC=BTSP on the Bitstamp exchange — up more than 20 percent since the start of June — while the number of daily transactions reached a record 150,917.

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Digital Dodge: Some Greeks Using Bitcoin to Evade Currency …

The 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World – TheRichest

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on The 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World – TheRichest
May 082015

In 2009, the governments of the 20 wealthiest countries in the world vowed that they will tighten the regulations that enabled rampant tax evasions in their own nation and territories. The major problem that these countries faced was the high level of secrecy when it comes to withholding the financial assets of clients from the authorities. However, two years later, despite the increase in such regulations, people were still left with a great number of countries to choose from that will allow them to evade their taxes through the use of offshore accounts. This was according to a report made by the Tax Justice Network.

The report, which the Tax Justice Network referred to as the Financial Secrecy Index, assessed 73 different jurisdictions around the world that allowed billions of foreign currency to be stored in offshore accounts. The money that was deposited into these accounts were also left untaxed. The report found that governments worldwide lose approximately $250 billion in revenue every year because of these offshore accounts.

This list is comprised of the 10 biggest tax havens in the world countries that allow the highest level of client financial secrecy, tax evasion, and offshore accounts.

Bahrain, situated near the Persian Gulfs western shores, is a small island-country. The archipelagos largest island is Bahrain Island. While there are plenty of financial institutions offering offshore banking services and bank accounts in the island, its client financial secrecy is the lowest of all the other nations included in this list. Bahrain gets tenth place because it has the lowest level of Financial Secrecy Index value based from the Tax Justice Networks report, which is at 660.3. It also has a Secrecy Score of 78.

Germany makes it easy for people to open offshore bank accounts. However, this has also resulted in the increasing number of individuals opening such accounts so they can evade their taxes. The good news is that the country is trying to control this problem through the implementation of stricter and much more stringent policies. In the report, Germany got a score of 669.8 for its Financial Secrecy Index value, and a Secrecy Score of 57.

Many of the offshore banks in Japan do not subject the deposits made by their clients to interest rate standards and regulations. Fortunately, with the offshore banking center that has been established in Tokyo, the countrys law enforcement authorities would at least be able to monitor and control any developments in these financial institutions.

Jersey is a British Crown Dependency that houses a great number of banks offering offshore accounts to foreign clients. Offshore banking and investments has been a part of the bailiwicks underground economy. In the Tax Justice Network report, Jersey got a Financial Secrecy Index value of 750.1 and a Secrecy Score of 78.

Singapore, an island city-state in Southeast Asia, is considered by many as one of their best choices for opening offshore bank accounts. Almost anyone can open such a bank account without experiencing any hassle. This is one of the major reasons why Singapore was graded with a Financial Secrecy Index value of 1,118 and a Secrecy Score of 71 by the Tax Justice Network.

The states of Nevada and Wyoming are two of the major contributing factors to the countrys increasing problems in terms of tax evasion. In Nevada, there are no capital gains, gift tax, personal income tax, and inheritance tax. In Wyoming, there are no corporate taxes, inventory taxes, unitary taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, personal income taxes, franchise taxes, and inheritance taxes.

In the Peoples Republic of China, there are two Special Administrative Regions, with Hong Kong being one of them. It is located at the south coast of China and is surrounded by the South China Sea and the Pearl River Delta. Seven million people live in the region. Aside from being a popular tourist hot spot, Hong Kong is also a haven for people who do not want to pay their taxes and deposit large amounts of money in offshore accounts. Here, clients do not have to pay for sales taxes, capital gains, and payroll taxes. They also do not have to worry about personal tax being deducted from their money.

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The 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World – TheRichest

Taiwan protests inclusion of disputed islands

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Apr 082015

CNA April8,2015,12:02amTWN

Anna Kao (), spokeswoman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed the country’s stern protest over Japan’s move to include the Diaoyutai () Islands (known in Japan as the Senkakus) off Taiwan into its textbooks.

The government will also make a serious protest through diplomatic channels to Japan over the issue, she added.

Kao reiterated that the Diaoyutais are part of R.O.C. territory, a fact that will not be changed by any unilateral move by Japan.

She also said that the R.O.C. will adhere to the principles of safeguarding R.O.C. sovereignty, shelving differences and seeking

cooperation on resource development in the region through dialogue, in addressing territorial disputes over the islands.

Her remarks came in response to news that all middle-school social studies textbooks in Japan will refer to the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima as Japanese territory.

In line with Japanese government guidelines announced in 2014, the new textbooks will become part of curricula at schools nationwide next spring, Japanese media reported Tuesday.

The Diaoyutais, some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, have been under Japan’s administrative control since 1972 but are also claimed by Taiwan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands.

Meanwhile, the Takeshima island chain, called the Dokdo by South Korea, is at the center of a territorial dispute between Tokyo and Seoul.

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Xth Squad Prepares to Initiate Operation Abyss

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Mar 272015

A new video has appeared for Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy, giving a quick initiation for new recruits to the game’s Xth Squad. Full name the Xion Transhuman Squad, the Xth’s job is to counter the threat of Variants, genetically-engineered monsters that appear through mysterious portals connected to a dimension known as the Abyss. The Xth is under the command of the Code Physics Agency, which works under the guise of a private school named Hinowa Academy and provides the squad with special weapons to use against the Variants.

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is a spiritual successor to Demon Gaze, with players controlling a party of up to six through first-person dungeons. The game is set to be released by NIS America for PlayStation Vita on June 9, 2015 in North America and June 5, 2015 in Europe.

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Xth Squad Prepares to Initiate Operation Abyss

Japan claims disputed islands with Chinese map from 1969

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Mar 192015

TOKYO, March 18 (UPI) — China’s foreign ministry has reproached the Japanese government for displaying a 1969 Chinese map of the Senkaku Islands that identifies the disputed territory by its Japanese name.

The Japan Times reported the Japanese foreign ministry’s website released the map on Monday to show how neighboring China created surveys “on the premise the Senkaku islands are part of Japanese territory.”

The map, Japanese foreign minister said, shows China’s claim to the disputed islands has “no foundation at all.”

Japan’s foreign ministry states on its website China and Taiwan claimed the islands after the U.N. issued a report that the area held potential oil and gas reserves.

China swiftly responded to the official Japanese statement during a press briefing in Beijing.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the map reflects Japan’s aggression and its colonial legacy in Taiwan. Prior to the Sino-Japanese War that lasted from 1894 to 1895, Hong said Western maps marked the islands as belonging to China.

Japan has control of the Senkaku, or Diaoyu Islands, but China and Taiwan each claim the territory.

On March 2 Japan’s Kyodo News reported a Taiwan-based group of activists requested Japanese facilities on the islands be taken down.

They also requested the Japanese government to remove the Japanese flag on the disputed territory, claiming Japan’s moves violates a Taiwan-Japan fisheries pact that lets both countries to fish inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, that excludes 12 nautical miles of waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands.

Taiwan uses the name Tiaoyutai for the islands.

Japan claims disputed islands with Chinese map from 1969

SAR should prohibit Bitcoin transactions

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Feb 162015

Updated: 2015-02-16 07:29 By Eddy Li(HK Edition)

Last year, when Hong Kong set up its first Bitcoin ATM and a Bitcoin retail store, I wrote a commentary in this paper, “Treat Bitcoin with caution”. This was to warn investors to exercise caution about investing in Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent a recent fraudulent incident. Earlier this month, Legislative Council member Leung Yiu-chung said that about 30 concerned clients of MyCoin, a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin trading company, complained to him that the company had absconded with funds from up to 3,000 investors, stealing HK$3 billion in the process.

The most controversial feature of Bitcoin remains the question of whether or not it is actually a currency. Bitcoin does have three useful qualities of a currency, according to an Economist article published in January 2015: They are “hard to earn, limited in supply, and easy to verify”. While Bitcoin, to some extent, meets all these requirements – a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account, it is its volatility which becomes the most crucial factor in its acceptance. In this case, naturally, its price, or exchange rate, fluctuates based on how it is regarded. Thus if a country forbids Bitcoin transactions, the price drops dramatically. When another economy admits its legal status its price may skyrocket in a short time.

Consensus has yet to be reached as to whether Bitcoin should be a currency in different countries. As of 2014, this cryptocurrency was only illegal in Vietnam and Iceland. In December 2013, China’s central bank took its first steps in regulating Bitcoins by prohibiting financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions. Within six months of this, the People’s Bank of China stated that Bitcoins “are fundamentally not a currency but an investment target”, and simultaneously ordered financial institutions to close Bitcoin trading accounts. As for Japan, it was not until the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy that the Japanese government decided to clarify its position on the digital currency. Tokyo said it did not consider Bitcoin a real currency. In other Asian countries, including South Korea, India, Thailand and Indonesia, attitudes toward Bitcoin are generally conservative: They firmly state that it is not a currency.

Nevertheless, the Western world seems to have different attitudes to Bitcoin. Germany and Canada have granted Bitcoin the legal status of a currency, while others have tended not to take a definite position. In the US, experts are working on drafting regulations to cover Bitcoin, but on one occasion the Federal Reserve suggested that people should take responsibility for their own risk when investing in this “convertible decentralized virtual currency”.

It is possible that Bitcoin will be an internationally accepted currency in future. But so far it is merely an online payment system generated from “mining” – a computing process. Without any central bank or governmental backing, its value is determined only by the agreement of its users. This makes Bitcoin different from conventional currencies regarding undulation. Since its first real-world transaction in 2010, when a user bought 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins (valued at less than $0.01), it has peaked at $1250 with intermittent crashes and rebounds. Over the last year, the value of Bitcoin has dropped more than 50 percent.

Such instability has brought it to the attention of both investors and governments. Authorities in Hong Kong have repeatedly warned that Bitcoins are a high-risk investment. But judging from the recent case, such warnings are definitely not sufficient, especially when there are no existing laws regulating virtual currencies like Bitcoin. So the solution is regulation or prohibition.

Given that Bitcoin is an unprecedented financial concept, related regulation needs years to draft and refine. Governments and academics from different countries should work together to set up a generally accepted system of regulation. Until such time I suggest the Hong Kong government prohibits Bitcoin transactions through financial institutions – although individual investments should still be possible.

(HK Edition 02/16/2015 page10)

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SAR should prohibit Bitcoin transactions

Mighty cheap: Is bitcoin the future of global payments?

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Jan 132015

Risky business: The digital currency bitcoin is still in its infancy which leaves it vulnerable to malicious users.

Moving money overseas is notoriously expensive. The way to avoid being gouged by brutal online banking costs could be to enlist the power of the alternative currency bitcoin.

To get more Money more often, why not follow us on Twitter? We’re @FairfaxMoney

Just ask entrepreneur Crystal Fong, 29, who runs a Melbourne copywriting collective. Recently, when Fong was in Tokyo establishing a pop-up office, both her bankcards were cancelled after some ATM trouble. The cards were with two different banks that gave the same story: “All we can do is send a new PIN to your address in Australia it’ll take five to sevenworking days.”

Crypto-currency fan: Entrepreneur Crystal Fong decided to try withdrawing bitcoin after both her ATM cards were cancelled while on a trip to Tokyo.

Her mind turned to bitcoin, which she knew is not for everyone, particularly in Japan the crash of the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, has fuelled doubt about its stability, according to Fong.


“But I was on my last 1000 yen in a ridiculously expensive city, with two cancelled debit cards,” she says. Opening a bitcoin wallet and road-testing the digital currency seemed far less risky than trying to survive “on 10 bucks for five to sevenworking days”, she adds.

So, using the on-the-go bitcoin wallet CoinJar, she withdrew it in yen from a bar-room bitcoin ATM in buzzy Roppongi behind her, chatter arose about the potential and downsides of the crypto-currency that spawns controversy and curiosity.

Cut out the middleman: Asher Tan, CEO and co-founder of CoinJar says Australia now has four major bitcoin exchanges.

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Mighty cheap: Is bitcoin the future of global payments?

Bitcoins Price Unfazed After Bitstamp Exchange Reports Breach

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Jan 062015

Bitcoin, which tumbled last year after an exchange that traded the virtual currency lost its holdings and collapsed, held up today after another market, Bitstamp, suspended trading because of a breach.

Prices for bitcoins rose 4 percent to almost $284 as of 4:45 p.m. in New York, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index, which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges. That compares with an average daily move of about 3 percent during the previous 30 days.

Bitstamp, an online platform in Europe, said on its website today that its temporarily suspending services after losing fewer than 19,000 bitcoins in a breach of electronic wallets used for operations. The loss amounts to a small fraction of the platforms reserves, and bitcoins held by customers before yesterdays suspension are completely safe and will be honored in full, it said.

Bitcoin prices plunged by more than half last year amid cyber thefts, mounting competition and moves by governments to head off its potential use in criminal transactions. While Bitstamp is among several key exchanges, its dwarfed by bigger platforms, accounting for about 5 percent of dollar transactions in the past 30 days, according to Bitcoin Charts, which tracks the virtual currency.

Mt.Gox, once the worlds largest exchange for digital-currency transactions, went offline in Tokyo in February after losing 850,000 bitcoins, then valued at about $473 million. The company later found 200,000 in an old-format digital wallet.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Scheer in Seattle at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at; Pui-Wing Tam at Reed Stevenson, David Scheer

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

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Bitcoins Price Unfazed After Bitstamp Exchange Reports Breach

China launches cyber claim to islands in Japan dispute

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Dec 302014

China’s new website features displays legal documents, maps, and a timeline dating back to 1403, the year Beijing claims the islands’ Mandarin name first appeared in writings

SENKAKU. A file picture dated 27 April 2005 shows an aerial view of Uotsuri Island, one of the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Hiroya Shimoji/EPA

BEIJING, China Beijing on Tuesday, December 30, launched a website for an uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea, in its latest bid to assert sovereignty over an archipelago controlled by Japan.

The new website,, was unveiled by China’s National Marine Data and Information Service.

Featuring a Chinese flag on its front page, the site displays legal documents, maps and a timeline dating back to 1403, the year Beijing claims the islands’ Mandarin name first appeared in writings.

The documents on the website “provide strong evidence, from both a historical and legal perspective, that the Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory since ancient times,” the official Xinhua news agency wrote.

It added that the site, which is currently available only in Chinese, will soon be launched in at least seven other languages, including Japanese.

Beijing and Tokyo have been engaged in a bitter and longstanding battle over ownership of the island chain, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

The dispute was exacerbated when Japan nationalized some of the archipelago nearly two years ago, and the sea and air around the contested isles have seen increasingly dangerous standoffs since then.

Tokyo sought to further its claim to the territory in August by naming five of the islands, an act decried by Beijing as “illegal and invalid”.

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China launches cyber claim to islands in Japan dispute

IRS says bitcoin will be taxed

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Dec 272014

Virtual currencies like bitcoin will be taxed like property – not currency, the Internal Revenue Service says.

The IRS says bitcoin is not legal tender. You can’t use it to pay your taxes.

However, if you receive wages in bitcoin, you have to pay taxes on it just like you would if you got paid in dollars. Or if you got paid in chickens.

The IRS issued a series of 16 questions and answers on Tuesday to clarify the tax treatment of virtual currencies like bitcoin. In general, the IRS says, it will apply the same rules that govern other barter transactions.


If you receive wages in bitcoin, they would be taxed at their fair market value at the time you were paid, the IRS said. If you use bitcoins to pay for goods or services, the vendor must report the income, using the fair market value of the bitcoins at the time of the transaction.

For investors, bitcoins will be treated like other commodities, the IRS said. If they increase in value, you have to pay capital gains taxes after you sell them. If they lose value, you can recognise a capital loss.

Created in 2009, bitcoin is an online currency that allows people to make one-to-one transactions, buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks or other third parties. Bitcoins have become popular with libertarians, tech enthusiasts and speculators.

Regulators worry about criminals using them to avoid detection.

In February, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, based in Tokyo, filed for bankruptcy, adding to mistrust of the currency. Supporters say problems at the exchange were isolated.

IRS says bitcoin will be taxed

USFJ Chief of Staff discusses Liberty Policy for US service members in Japan (09Dec14) – Video

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Dec 092014

USFJ Chief of Staff discusses Liberty Policy for US service members in Japan (09Dec14)
The United States Forces Japan Chief of Staff, COL Cory Mendenhall discusses the new Liberty Policy on AFN Tokyo's Morning Cruise Control.

By: Kellen Carr

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USFJ Chief of Staff discusses Liberty Policy for US service members in Japan (09Dec14) – Video

China, Japan spar again over islands

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Nov 132014

Kor Kian Beng

The Straits Times

Publication Date : 13-11-2014

China and Japan have crossed swords again over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, just days after the first summit by their top leaders which gave hope for improvement in their rocky ties.

A spokesman for China’s embassy in Japan yesterday criticised Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida for his remarks that Japan has not changed its position that the East China Sea islands administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing are not in dispute.

According to Japanese media reports, Kishida also said at a press conference on Tuesday that maritime tensions between both countries were caused by China’s air defence identification zone in the East China Sea and activities by Chinese fishermen in the waters nearby.

“We express serious concern and opposition to comments from the Japanese,” said the spokesman for the Chinese Embassy.

“Diaoyu islands are Chinese territory. The meaning and spirit of the four-point consensus reached by both sides days ago are clear.”

The territorial dispute, which sparked turmoil in bilateral ties after Japan nationalised some of the islands in Sept 2012, was a key part of a four-point agreement reached by both sides last Friday.

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China, Japan spar again over islands

Japan-China relations strained over illegal coral poaching

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Nov 072014

Red coral jewellery and ornaments are popular among wealthy Chinese, with the price per gram having more than quadrupled over the past five years. Photograph: Alamy

A cluster of Japanese islands has become a potential flashpoint in already tense relations between Japan and China after Tokyo urged Beijing to crack down on a rise in illegal coral poaching by Chinese fishermen.

The demand came as Japanese officials warned that Chinese poachers currently in the area would not be allowed to take refuge on the Ogasawara islands, located about 600 miles south of Tokyo, from a powerful typhoon expected to arrive later on Thursday.

Japan has boosted its coastguard and police presence near the islands after observing a dramatic rise in the number of poachers searching for red coral in its exclusive economic zone.

Chinese boats traditionally poached coral in the East China Sea and near the Japanese island of Okinawa, but are thought to have moved to the Ogasawara chain to escape beefed up security and to take advantage of calmer waters.

Jewellery and ornaments made from the coral are popular among wealthy Chinese, with the price per gram having more than quadrupled over the past five years, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

More than 200 Chinese fishing boats have been spotted in waters off the Ogasawara and Izu island chains in recent days, prompting calls for Tokyo to put more pressure on Beijing.

Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic party adopted a resolution this week calling on the government to lodge the strongest possible protest, adding that they were outraged by the barbaric act of pulling out coral by the roots.

The standoff will only add to tensions between the two countries as their leaders struggle to set up their first-ever bilateral meeting at next weeks Apec summit in Beijing.

The Kyodo news agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the prospects were dimming for an official summit between Japans prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, although the two may hold informal talks lasting 10-15 minutes.

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BitFlyer Bitcoin Exchange Gets $236,000 to Expand Overseas

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Oct 162014

BitFlyer Inc., a Japanese bitcoin exchange, raised 25 million yen ($236,000) from New York-based Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. to fund its overseas expansion.

The Tokyo-based exchange, which opened in April, plans to begin offerings abroad by the end of the year, according to its founder and chief executive officer Yuzo Kano. BitFlyer allows anyone with a Japanese bank account to buy and sell the coins, Japans first such service since Mt. Gox collapsed in February.

Singapore is a likely target, although nothing has been decided yet, Kano, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader, said in Oct. 9 telephone interview from Tokyo. It will have to be somewhere favorable to bitcoin, so probably not the U.S.

Japans ruling Liberal Democratic Party has taken a hands-off approach to the virtual currency which it sees aiding Prime Minister Shinzo Abes push to spur venture funding for innovation, a June report by the LDPs special committee on IT strategy shows. That contrasts with restrictions in China, Thailand and Iceland, while U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance makes it difficult for exchanges to get custodial bank accounts to hold customer funds.

Kano, who heads the Japan Authority of Digital Asset industry group, last month accompanied the head of the LDP committee charged with regulation of the currency on a trip to San Francisco and Washington, D.C., where they met with legislators and bitcoin entrepreneurs. JADA is seeking to set security standards and personal identification guidelines for bitcoin trading in the Asian nation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said in March it plans to issue regulations requiring facilitators of virtual currency exchanges to verify the identities of customers and report suspicious transactions to the police. The rules wont cover the safety and soundness of the intermediaries or the transactions, it said.

Mt. Gox, once the worlds largest exchange for digital-currency transactions, went offline in Tokyo on Feb. 25 after losing 850,000 bitcoins, then valued at about $473 million. The company later found 200,000 in an old-format digital wallet.

Bitcoin traded at $398.00 as of 10:21 a.m. in Tokyo today, according to Bitstamp data compiled by Bloomberg. While thats up 43 percent from this years low of $278 on Oct. 5, it traded as high as $1,132 in December.

Japan is way ahead of other countries when it comes to cooperation between bitcoin operators and regulators, which you dont see in the U.S., Europe or Singapore, Kano said.

Bitcoin Opportunity is a personal investment vehicle of Barry Silbert, who also heads New York-based brokerage SecondMarket Inc. The investments span more than 40 bitcoin companies including Coinbase, BitPay, Circle and Ripple Labs, Silbert said in an e-mailed answer to questions.

BitFlyer Bitcoin Exchange Gets $236,000 to Expand Overseas

Typhoon Vongfong aims at Japans main islands

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Oct 132014

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)Typhoon Vongfong is heading toward Japans main islands after strong winds and heavy rains left more than 20 people injured in the southern Okinawan islands over the weekend.

Reports cited the Japan Meteorological Agency as saying the typhoon was due to make landfall on Japans Kyushu and Honshu islands as early as Monday morning.

The agencys chief forecaster, Hiroshi Sasaki, warned residents to take precautions including staying away from beaches or swollen rivers.

Tokyo and eastern Japan are expected to see strong rain and wind on Tuesday.

In Okinawa, Japans southernmost prefecture, local officials said at least 23 people were injured, including a 9-year-old girl who had her finger amputated after getting it caught in a door slammed shut by strong winds.

Vongfong comes a week after Japan was hit by typhoon Phanfone, which killed seven people, including three U.S. servicemen in Okinawa.

Meanwhile, a massive cyclone pounded southern India on Sunday morning, killing at least six people and damaging houses and crops.

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, The Wall Street Journal reported. The storm, named Hudhud, hit the coast near a port city in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh at about 11:30 a.m. local time. The chief minister of the state said the extent of damage from the storm would become clear in a day or two after it subsided. He said Sunday evening at least 70% of communication had totally collapsed.

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Typhoon Vongfong aims at Japans main islands

Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan’s Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone’s Path – Video

 Islands  Comments Off on Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan’s Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone’s Path – Video
Oct 062014

Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan's Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone's Path
Sources: NHK World, TWC, NOAA, JTWC, TWN. TWC: TWN:…

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Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan’s Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone’s Path – Video

Interview With BitBays – A Bitcoin Exchange That Tries To Make A Difference

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Oct 042014

Exchange in the context of finance often conjures up images of busy trading floors where traders gesticulate and shout in deafening din. In the world of Bitcoin, things are much quieter. The Bitcoin exchanges, as many of them are, can be little more than a website and a piece of program running behind it. Many of these exchanges, often registered in offshore tax havens such as British Virgin Islands, dont have much of a physical existence.

Given how new Bitcoin is, it may not be surprising that the Bitcoin exchanges at large resemble the banking industry in the early days a little bit They often fail. This year, the industry is stigmatised by the fall of Mt. Gox, the longest lasting and erstwhile largest Bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo, Japan. In the aftermath, there was a wave of criticism of incumbent exchanges, which were referred to as single point of failure. Contrary to the popular demand, however, the single point of failure persisted. On the ruins of the failed Mt. Gox, new exchanges emerge and many prosper. Among them, China-based OKCoin and Huobi impress many with their meteoric rise from obscurity.

Both Huobi and OKCoin, the largest Chinese exchanges, had been questioned over the veracity of their claimed trading volumes. After one of the first accusations being reported by Bitcoin news website CoinDesk last year, despite consistent denials from these exchanges,similar suggestions popped up fairly regularly on the social media. However, skepticism notwithstanding, the China-based exchanges, exemplified by the two aforementioned, are making strides. Both have grown from nothing to be relatively large companies within a period of a year Both Huobi and OKCoin have over 150 employees each. Both appear to be on solid ground financially, at least judging by the way they spend and speed of expansion. In a recent interview, OKCoins CEO Star Xuconfirmed that his company had been profitable.

From left to right: Yan Chuan, Elon Zhao, Mike Gropp

All these lead to a question: Are the Chinese exchanges, despite their shortcomings, possess some special quality that makes them more successful?

Will Chinese Exchanges Dominate The World?

In a high-rise office building in Sanyuanqiao, Chaoyang district in Beijing, I met Elon, Mike, and Yan Chuan, three cofounders of BitBays, a new Bitcoin exchange. I first met Mike and Elon at the Shanghai Bitcoin Expo a week before, where they gave a presentation. Although a secure and globalized Bitcoin exchange sounded to me just vanilla marketing talk, I was curious as to how they implemented the concept. I was also interested to learn what they have to say about the exchange environment as well as other questions that many are concerned with.

I started the interview by asking what are the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the large Chinese exchanges such as Huobi and OKCoin. Acknowledging the success of the two, Elon listed three factors that he believed are behind the growth: The appeal of zero-fee, general lack of speculative assets in China and a highly developed Internet industry.

In spite of these advantages, Elon didnt believe that any of the two, in their current shape, stand much of a chance to be global leaders. First, there is the negative image associated with being Chinese. It is like an American sees an Arabic exchange or a North Korea exchange. Then, Chinese companies generally performed badly in terms of globalisation. Elon cited the example of WeChat: despite its phenomenal success in China, the mobile communication app remains a Chinese phenomenon. It is hard to imagine that a Bitcoin exchanges can do what Tencent, a much larger and deeper-pocketed company, cant.

However, Elon believed BitBays had the advantage as a late-starter. The company had little burden; it would be much harder to switch direction when you are halfway in the journey. Elon compared BitBays that he envisioned with is the worlds largest online Bitcoin wallet service. Headquartered in Luxembourg, the wallet provider has employees distributed in many countries across the globe. According to an email reply from Roger Ver, cofounder of People help from Blockchain from all over the world. North and South America, Europe, Asia, and even South America. I dont think we have anyone in Africa yet though.

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Interview With BitBays – A Bitcoin Exchange That Tries To Make A Difference

Square Is Making a Register That Takes Bitcoin and Apple Pay

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Square Is Making a Register That Takes Bitcoin and Apple Pay
Sep 242014

At San Franciscos Buyers Best Friend, a worker demonstrates the companys custom-built bitcoin payments system. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Over the past year, its become a lot easier to buy bitcoin, thanks to services such as Coinbase. And thanks to retailers such as and TigerDirect, its now a lot easier to to spend them online. But theres still one big pothole in bitcoins bumpy road to mainstream adoption: Your local coffee shop.

Thats because most cash register software still doesnt support the worlds most popular digital currency. But the situation is about to change, according to Square CEO Jack Dorsey. He says that Square is building a register that will allow companies to accept bitcoin as well as Apples new contactless payment system, Apple Pay.

Were building a register so that sellers can accept a credit card, so they can accept cash, so they can accept a cheque, so they can accept Bitcoin and so they can accept any form of payment that comes across the counter including future ones and burgeoning ones like Apple Pay, Dorsey told the CBC this week, speaking at the opening of Squares new Canadian offices in Kitchener, Ontario.

Reached Monday, the company didnt have any word on when its bitcoin-ready register might be on the market. But it said say that it wants to support new types of payment systems. Square sellers should never have to miss out on a sale. They should be able to accept any form of payment, said Square spokesman Johnny Brackett.

Today, shops such as Buyers Best Friend in San Francisco and restaurants such as the Pink Cow in Tokyo accept payments in bitcoin. Basically, you hold your smartphone up to a scanner at the cash register. But such systems can be difficult for businesses to set up. Square, whose in-person payment systems are already used by so many businesses, could potentially make it much easier for small stores and restaurants to accept bitcoin, a new kind of currency that exists only on the internet.

Though many believe bitcoin can remake the way we handle moneyremoving some of the control traditional exhibited by big banks and government organizationsit is still a long way from reaching the mainstream. But with company such as Overstock now accepting bitocin payments across the globe and Square flirting with a bitcoin register, the currency is inching closer.

Home Page Photo: David Shankbone

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Square Is Making a Register That Takes Bitcoin and Apple Pay

Japan Plans New Military Outposts near Disputed Islands

 Islands  Comments Off on Japan Plans New Military Outposts near Disputed Islands
May 192014

An aerial view shows Yonaguni island, Okinawa prefecture in this picture taken by KyodoReuters file photo

Japan is reportedly planning to establish fresh military outposts in remote islands near the archipelago known in Japan as Senkaku, in order to bolster security in its territorial waters.

According to the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, nearly 350 troops are expected to be stationed on three different islands in the far southwest, near the disputed chain of islands. The string of land mass, often at the centre of spats between Tokyo and Beijing, is called Diaoyus in China.

Although there is already a minimum air force facility in the region, it does not have Japan’s ground forces and the latest proposal is bound to infuriate China.

The two countries are frequently involved in maritime confrontations in the waters to assert their claims to the islands, which lie about 2,000kms from Tokyo and 200kms from Taiwan, which also claims rights to the chain.

The three sites identified for the new outposts are Amamioshima, Miyako island and Ishigaki island, all of which are located about 150 to 210kms from Senkakus, the daily reported, citing anonymous senior officials.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: “At the moment, however, we have not decided on specific, concrete locations such as those reported.”

Last month, Japan had come up with its first military expansion in the region in more than 40 years by beginning the construction of a radar station in Yonaguni.

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said: “This is the first deployment since the US returned Okinawa in 1972 and calls for us to be more on guard are growing. I want to build an operation able to properly defend islands that are part of Japan’s territory.”

The radar facility will significantly increase Japan’s surveillance capabilities in the region as Tokyo’s monitoring could potentially expand up to mainland China to keep an eye on its ships and flights.

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Japan Plans New Military Outposts near Disputed Islands

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism