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09.15.17

Blockchain and Bitcoin Roundup: JP Morgan Chase, Japan’s Regulator, Wish Finance

Arguments, exchanges and something getting launched. It’s our blockchain and bitcoin roundup, courtesy of sister publication Banking Technology. Features JP Morgan Chase, the Financial Services Agency of Japan and Wish Finance.

There will be blood. Sort of. JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon got plenty of attention with his skepticism and criticism of bitcoin—calling it a “fraud.” Using the 17thcentury tulip bulb craze analogy (like 99 percent of other people), Dimon says: “It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed.” It went on, but I’ll spare you the details. You get the idea.

In response (it’s called democracy), John McAfee, whose firm MGT Capital Investments mines the cryptocurrency, challenged Dimon’s views. “You called Bitcoin a fraud,” McAfee told CNBC’s Fast Money’show. “I’m a Bitcoin miner. We create Bitcoins. It costs over $1,000 per coin to create a bitcoin. What does it cost to create a U.S. dollar? Which one is the fraud? Because it costs whatever the paper costs, but it costs me and other miners over $1,000 per coin. It’s called proof of work.”

By the way, in October 2016, JP Morgan Chase revealed it was developing its own blockchain, called Quorum, on the Ethereum network. While in April, JP Morgan Chase bid farewell to the R3 blockchain consortium to pursue its own interests.

Over in Japan, the country will begin supervision of cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. It says: “Authorities are still hashing out how to do so, mindful of the need to implement tighter regulation while leaving enough breathing room for continued growth of the rapidly evolving market.” As Banking Technology reported in April, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies became a legal payment method in the country.

The Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA) wants business running exchanges to register by the end of this month. One JFSA official says it is “investigating carefully on a risk basis to make sure bad operators do not creep in and hamper a healthy market.” The watchdog also will establish a chief of cryptocurrency monitoring and a team of about 30 people to regulate virtual exchanges. The Nikkei Asian Review adds that the debate on accounting rules for cryptocurrencies continues at the agency.

Staying in Asia, Wish Finance, which was founded last year, has launched its blockchain-based lending platform for SMEs. At first, it will be providing loans for companies in Singapore and Hong Kong. The startup will conduct a token sale from Oct. 2 -25 to raise funding for scaling up its new platform.

Wish Finance offers merchant cash advances and business loans with interest rates based on the company’s real cash flow, not assets. It says it has direct access to POS terminal infrastructure to see real-time financial transactions, which it combines with the local market data for scoring. It issues a loan in 24 hours and then deducts “a few percent” of the merchant customer’s payments to automatically repay the loan. It adds: “Each loan is insured from customer’s bankruptcy.”

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