Korean tech giant Samsung, which has denied rumors that it is working on a blockchain-focused smartphone, has just made patent applications in the UK for cryptocurrency wallets and related transfer technology. Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung seeks UK trademark for cryptocurrency wallet: Rumors in the market that Korean tech giant Samsung is releasing a blockchain-focused smartphone have again been stirred up with the filing of a patent in the UK for a crypto wallet. The Samsung filing lists the patent as “Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet”; “Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchain technology”; and “software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via a 3rd party’s application software.” Watch this space.

Japanese companies still eager for crypto: The chill of the bear market seems not to be affecting Japan where, according to government data, business sentiment for crypto remains strong. The country’s Financial Services Agency, according to industry media, says that approximately 190 companies applied to register crypto-related businesses in 2018, with 30 applying since August. The company list reportedly includes Line Corp, Yahoo! Japan and Daiwa Securities.

The Fed wants no part of national cryptocurrency: The Federal Reserve, the United States’ central bank, resists the global trend of creating national digital currencies. Quartz reports that “Fed researchers have been unconvinced by the arguments for a national cryptocurrency.” The researchers say that creating the crypto is not an issue but that “a central bank cryptocurrency isn’t really a cryptocurrency at all. If it’s not run on a ‘permissionless’ network—with nodes free to join or leave as they wish—then effectively, it’s just centrally-managed electronic money, with an inconvenient blockchain component.”

Taiwanese man ‘steals power’ to mine cryptocurrencies: In the latest audacious move to create a crypto empire from nothing, a man has been accused of stealing NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) in electricity at 17 locations to illicitly run cryptocurrency mines. The businessman, identified only as “Yang”, allegedly rented shops on the first floor of commercial buildings and then hired electricians to hook up his mining operations to businesses operating on the buildings’ upper floors.

Blockchain makes more inroads into Islamic finance: With the rise of the Middle East, and in particular Dubai, as a center of cryptocurrency, The Gulf Times says that Islamic finance is the latest sector to receive a Distributed Ledger Technology makeover. Blockchain is reportedly being increasingly applied to aid complex financing contracts, Shariah-compliant transactions and the traceability of financial transfers in UAE banks such as Emirates Islamic and Al Hilal.