Asia

Over a quarter of Asian Pacific ‘emerging giant’ startups tied to blockchain: Report

The Asia Pacific region is seeing a major business shift with increasing numbers of new technology startups appearing, even as venture capital investment is decreasing compared to last year. A report from Big Four accountant KPMG and international banking company HSBC based on a survey of 6,472 Asian Pacific startups found that over a quarter of them are blockchain related.  Nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, led the way among sectors where Asian Pacific “emerging giants” were active, followed directly by decentralized finance, also known as DeFi. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, quantum computing and robotic processing automation rounded out the top five sectors. Blockchain real estate and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, on the sam...

Fed policy and crumbling market sentiment could send the total crypto market cap back under $1T

The total crypto market capitalization broke above $1 trillion on July 18 after an agonizing thirty-five-day stint below the key psychological level. Over the next seven days, Bitcoin (BTC) traded flat near $22,400 and Ether (ETH) faced a 0.5% correction to $1,560. Total crypto market cap, USD billion. Source: TradingView The total crypto capitalization closed July 24 at $1.03 trillion, a modest 0.5% negative seven-day movement. The apparent stability is biased toward the flat performance of BTC and Ether and the $150 billion value of stablecoins. The broader data hides the fact that seven out of the top-80 coins dropped 9% or more in the period. Even though the chart shows support at the $1 trillion level, it will take some time until investors regain confidence to invest in cryptocurrenc...

The regulatory implications of India’s crypto transactions tax

The Indian crypto landscape lost some momentum this year as the government introduced two laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions. India’s first crypto law, which requires its citizens to pay a 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains, came into effect on April 1. A commotion among the Indian crypto community followed as investors and entrepreneurs tried to decipher the impact of the vague announcement with little or no success. Knowing that India’s second crypto law — a 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) on every transaction — would translate into an even greater impact on trading activities, numerous crypto entrepreneurs from India considered moving bases to friendlier jurisdictions. Following the imposition of additional taxes, Indian crypto exchanges ...

10 most visited countries in the world

We profile some usual suspects plus one or two surprises in the top 10 most visited countries in the world Have you dreamed of a romantic kiss atop the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps you’ve thrown a wish into the Trevi Fountain or stopped and stared at the Sistine Chapel. If so, you’re certainly not alone. According to the last available pre-pandemic figures, France and Italy are two of the most visited countries in the world. Together with the rest of the top 10, they make up a whopping 41% of global tourist arrivals (i.e. overnight visitors). Here’s the complete list of the most visited countries in the world. 10 most visited countries in the world The below figures come from the 2020 edition of the UNWTO’s International Tourism Highlights report. 1. France      &nbs...

Back to Baros: what happened when we returned to our island paradise

Should you try to recreate a perfect trip or is it better left alone as a memory? When my editor at Asian Woman Magazine sent me on a trip to the Maldives, I couldn’t quite believe it. A week at the luxury private island of Baros with flights, accommodation and all excursions paid for seemed thoroughly fantastical. What’s more, I was told to bring my boyfriend on this would-be honeymoon. This was back in 2012 and while Peter and I had been to Italy, Iceland and Cambodia together, there was nowhere quite so idyllic. With sky-high expectations, we flew out to Malé, the capital of the Maldives, and caught a private speedboat to the island of Baros. PR image The idyllic island of Baros Maldives The trip was predictably perfect. We dined on a private sandbank, sailed with dolphins, guzzled cham...

Uzbekistan warms up to Bitcoin mining, but there’s a catch

The National Agency of Prospective Projects (NAPP) in Uzbekistan announced its demands toward crypto mining operators. It would only allow the companies that use solar energy to mine Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies.  The normative act on the government page, dated June 24, describes the confirmation of “Guidelines on the registration of the crypto assets mining,” and sets the finalization date on July 9. The second article of the document offers an uncompromising wording: “Mining is being carried out only by the legal entity with the use of electric energy, provided by a solar photovoltaic power plant.” As a further complication, the miners should own the solar photovoltaic power plant that they will use for energy. The executive order also obliges any mining operator to obtai...

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine. It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017.  Ethiopia is perceived by many as a representation of wider Africa: still developing, still struggling. In reality, it is a land of lush mountains, dazzling architecture and jaw-dropping natural wonders. There is poverty, but there is also hope. Our visit prompted us to ask if Ethiopia still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Data from the Worl...

Market selling might ease, but traders are on the sidelines until BTC confirms $20K as support

The total crypto market capitalization fell off a cliff between June 10 and 13 as it broke below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021. Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 28% within a week and Ether (ETH) faced an agonizing 34.5% correction. Total crypto market cap, USD billion. Source: TradingView Presently, the total crypto capitalization is at $890 million, a 24.5% negative performance since June 10. That certainly raises the question of how the two leading crypto assets managed to underperform the remaining coins. The answer lies in the $154 billion worth of stablecoins distorting the broader market performance. Even though the chart shows support at the $878 billion level, it will take some time until traders take in every recent event that has impacted the market. For example, the U.S...

Samsung Asset Management to launch blockchain ETF in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based Samsung Asset Management (SAMHK), a local subsidiary of Samsung’s investment arm, is moving forward with a blockchain-themed exchange-traded fund (ETF). The firm expects to launch its Samsung Blockchain Technologies ETF on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on June 23, SAMHK announced on Thursday. The ETF seeks to achieve long-term capital growth by investing in stocks of companies actively involved in the development and adoption of blockchain technologies, the fund prospectus reads. The fund will invest in blockchain-related research and development firms, data providers, industry investment firms and others. The ETF’s composition will be managed by SAMHK’s portfolio management team, responsible for filtering out firms with “small market capitalization or low trading volume.”&n...

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills still leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like. All too often I only find time for some wilderness backpacking in Europe or low-altitude scrambling in the UK. Regardless, I still have high hopes of climbing the seven summits (three down, four to go). I’m aware that I’ll never be a Reinhold Messner or Chris Bonington (I’ll settle for reading their books instead) but I still long to pitch myself against tall mountains with imposing names....

Bitcoin and Ethereum had a rough week, but derivatives data reveals a silver lining

This week the crypto market endured a sharp drop in valuation after Coinbase, the leading U.S. exchange, reported a $430 million quarterly net loss and South Korea announced plans to introduce a 20% tax on crypto gains. During its worst moment, the total market crypto market cap faced a 39% drop from $1.81 trillion to $1.10 trillion in seven days, which is an impressive correction even for a volatile asset class. A similar size decrease in valuation was last seen in February 2021, creating bargains for the risk-takers. Total crypto market capitalization, USD billion. Source: TradingView Even with this week’s volatility, there were a few relief bounces as Bitcoin (BTC) bounced 18% from a $25,400 low to the current $30,000 level and Ether (ETH) price also made a brief rally to $2,100 af...

Brain drain: India’s crypto tax forces budding crypto projects to move

India’s 30% crypto tax came into law on March 31 and was effective April 1, despite warnings from several stakeholders about its possible ill impact on the budding crypto industry.  As predicted, within just a couple of weeks of the new crypto tax law coming into effect, trading volume across major crypto exchanges dropped as much as 90%. The decline in trading activity was attributed to traders either moving their funds away from centralized crypto exchanges or adopting a holding strategy over trading. Many crypto exchanges were hoping that a crypto tax would at least offer some form of recognition to the crypto ecosystem and help them get easy access to banking services. However, the effect has been the opposite. On April 7, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) issued a ...

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