Rakuten founder and chief executive officer Mickey Mikitani at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Japanese Amazon rival is about to open a crypto-currency exchange. Photo: AFP

This week, while rising crypto-currency markets have held on to their gains and have started to consolidate at their new trading range, the biggest story to come out of the industry is the delisting of Bitcoin SV by the world’s largest digital asset exchange, Binance.

The move followed an online spat between Binance boss Changpeng Zhao and Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who has made several – many say fraudulent – claims to be the father of Bitcoin father Satoshi Nakamoto. It has spurred a debate over corporate control over the future of crypto tokens and whether it was a decision that improves or weakens the crypto ecosystem as a whole.

In a similar move, Japan’s SBI Virtual Currency exchange announced it would be delisting Bitcoin Cash, the original fork of Bitcoin SV. The firm cited declining market capitalization and security vulnerabilities as part of its reasoning for its decision. It does, however, seem like another bizarre twist in this “game of coins” since Bitcoin Cash is the fourth largest crypto-currency by market cap with US$5.5 billion.

In Japan, the local version of Amazon has opened the digital doors for registrations for a new crypto-currency exchange. Internet and e-commerce giant Rakuten has invited existing customers, holding either a Rakuten Bank account or member ID, to sign up for their new crypto services. A crypto trading mobile app will also be launched for the Rakuten Wallet platform. Japan’s Financial Service Agency issued an elusive crypto license to the firm last month, enabling it to operate as a virtual currency exchange service provider under the country’s Payment Service Act.

The Japanese Financial Service Agency was in the news again this week when it announced it will now require crypto-currency exchanges to strengthen internal oversight of the cold wallets used for digital asset storage. Following a number of security breaches last year, the regulator body has encouraged a shift from online exchange-based hot wallets to a more robust and secure method of storing crypto-currencies offline. Japan continues to forge ahead, making the industry a safe one for investors, while China still wants nothing to do with it.

San Fransciso-based Ripple has announced expansion into the Philippines that, together with Mexico, will now be linked by the forum’s xRapid platform. Ripple says it is a serious competitor to the SWIFT international settlement network, as its platform allows for fast and low-cost cross border transactions using its native XRP token as an intermediary. According to Ripple Product senior vice-president Asheesh Birla, the launch has been successful and the company is looking to expand into other nations. XRP had a 7% price boost on the news during trading this week.

Also expanding into Asia is US exchange Coinbase, which this week announced it will be providing crypto trading services to 11 more countries. India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand are on the list, in addition to five more in Latin America. Customers in these new markets will now have full access to Coinbase trading platforms and mobile apps.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, an American Bitcoin investor has been getting grief over a waterborne “seastead” home located close to Thai waters. The Royal Thai Navy accused him of violating the country’s sovereignty by building a maritime homestead and has since canceled his visa. The floating home was erected off the coast of Phuket where early Bitcoin adopter Chad Andrew Elwartowski lived with his Thai girlfriend. Thailand’s immigration head deemed the pair, and their Bitcoin-funded floating home, a threat to Thai society.

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