Binance's enigmatic head, Changpeng Zhao, has expressed optimism for the crypto market and said the sector will 'kick off 2019 with a bang' as 'people in the industry are confident about the future.' Photo:
Binance is now very much a global operation but to date has seemed to avoid the US, with its intensive regulatory scrutiny. Photo:

Binance to launch dedicated blockchain platform: Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, says its preparing to launch a separate blockchain platform especially for new crypto-currencies and tokens. Speaking at a blockchain event in Singapore this week, for “130 of Asia’s wealthiest and most influential people” – aka the Crazy Rich Asians crypto gathering – Binance enigmatic CEO Changpeng Zhao, or simply “CZ” as he prefers, said his company’s plans to create Binance Chain to help enable the creation of new currencies while also aiding the widespread adoption of crypto as a mainstream payment tool.

Chinese web giants launching ‘faster’ Bitcoin: A project to launch a ‘faster Bitcoin’ token protocol called Conflux has so raised $35 million. A collection of Chinese web giants, led by Sequoia China, are funding the project that claims it can establish a new blockchain protocol to solve Bitcoin’s speed conundrum. Project analysts say the Bitcoin protocol can only add one block at a time to its “chain of blocks” while the Conflux system will permit parties to work on blocks concurrently. Andrew Yao, a Turing Award recipient who is known as China’s “godfather of computer science”, is one of the many notable Chinese academics associated with the project.

Singapore government expands blockchain ecosystem: The Lion City is continuing its march towards regional blockchain leader as Enterprise Singapore, set up to develop the city’s blockchain start-up ecosystem, launches its Tribe Accelerator. The blockchain accelerator program is running in association with TRIVE Ventures, a Singapore venture capital firm, South Korea’s ICON Foundation and PwC Singapore’s Venture Hub. Singapore also recently announced plans to launch a tokenized securities settlement system, to simplify post-trade processes and further shorten settlement cycles.

The Tokyo tax man wants your bitcoin profits:
The Japanese government aims to track down those who are evading tax on crypto-currency transaction incomes. Currently, Japan’s National Tax Agency (NTA) can only ask virtual currency traders to submit information on their customers voluntarily and, according to a recent NTA survey, only 300 people declared in 2017 they made at least 100 million yen ($885,000) from cryptos. Now the NTA can demand transaction details from cryptocurrency exchanges on any customers the agency suspects of tax evasion. To further enhance its blockchain ecosystem, the Japanese government recently announced rigid regulatory protections for investors in all future ICOs.

Washington says more crypto regulations in the pipeline: According to Warren Davidson, US Representative for Ohio, the US federal government will soon be regulating all US cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. A proposed bill that seeks to make an “asset class” for cryptocurrencies and digital assets – that can then be easily taxable – will be ratified “soon”, Davidson told a Cleveland blockchain conference. At the present time, different states and agencies classify cryptocurrencies in separate ways, making it difficult to create a unified system.