Crypto-currency logos. Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

The acceptance in Asia of Bitcoin and crypto-currency continues to grow, for the friendly nations at least. A company in Singapore has launched Bitcoin banknotes at a store on the island state in an effort to make owning and circulating digital currencies as easy as paper money.

Digital asset banknote manufacturer Tangem announced the launch of its smart BTC banknotes late last week at the Megafash Suntec City store. The firm, which is headquartered in Switzerland and Hong Kong, says it “is delivering the first shipment of 10,000 production notes to prospective partners and distributors around the world for commercial pilots.”

The announcement went on to clarify that notes were: “Available immediately in denominations of 0.01 and 0.05 BTC, Tangem Notes radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users.”

Tangem explained that its smart Bitcoin banknotes were comparable to well-protected paper banknotes and they were cheap enough to hand over. Naturally using a 1BTC banknote worth in excess of $9,000 would not be practical, hence the smaller denominations of approximately $93 and $465 at current rates. The company said that they were easy to use with “No special infrastructure, no complicated applications – just touch the banknote with an NFC-capable smartphone to be 100% sure it has valid assets.”

Transferring them, Tangem said, was easy as users can “Physically hand over the whole wallet together with the blockchain private key. No transaction fees, no need to await confirmation blockchain.”

It remains to be seen whether this novel approach will gain traction. However, with Bitcoin ATM’s appearing across the island and increasing numbers of outlets accepting crypto, Singapore is steadily securing itself as a crypto-trading nation.

Not far behind Singapore is South Korea, where a newly appointed boss of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) just said the county’s top regulators will consider relaxing crypto-currency regulations. The Korea Times reported on Monday that Yoon Suk-heun would be collaborating closely with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to implement more practical regulations in order to encourage a stable crypto-trading environment. This would benefit the economy overall and promote further financial stability.

Lawmakers in South Korea are already seeking to overturn the existing initial coin offering prohibition by developing a bill to allow ICOs that adhere to certain conditions. A crypto-friendly approach by South Korea’s financial bodies would ease tension in one of the world’s largest markets by trade volume, which would mean the country is on the way to joining Singapore and Japan with an open-door policy for crypto-currency investment, trading and use.

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