Several countries investigating Japanese virtual coin heist: cryptocurrency council member [Reuters]

Authorities in several countries are investigating last week’s US$530 million heist involving the NEM cryptocurrency, a member of the foundation behind the digital coin said on Thursday.

Takao Asayama, who is a member of the Singapore-based NEM Foundation that is behind the cryptocurrency, told reporters in Tokyo that it is working with exchanges to block the hackers from cashing out the stolen cryptocurrency. He did not name the countries involved in investigations.

Earlier this week, Japanese authorities said they would investigate all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country for security gaps and ordered Tokyo-based Coincheck to raise its standards after hackers stole $530 million of digital money from the exchange.

China Unicom, Alibaba jointly launch online asset trading platform [YiCai Global]

China United Network Communications, one of the big three Chinese telecom operators, and the auction platform of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, today formally opened an online asset trading platform, they announced.

The two demonstrated the process of bidding on 1,000 mobile phones in ‘defective boxes’ via the trading platform. ‘Defective boxes’ are those where only the outer packaging is damaged with the quality of the products within remaining unaffected. Nearly 2,000 participants joined in the auction, bidding more than 7,000 times, as over 250,000 others watched online.

Grab and Samsung sign MOU to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia [press release]

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, today announced that they have signed a multi-year memorandum of understanding to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia.

Grab and Samsung will work together on a wide range of initiatives to bring the benefits of technology, such as enhanced customer experiences and improved income opportunities, to millions of consumers and Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia.

As part of the wide-ranging strategic collaboration, Grab and Samsung will develop customised solutions for the ride-hailing industry, including micro-financing schemes for Grab’s over 2.3 million driver-partners, improved customer booking and in-car experiences, and new mobility solutions. The two companies will also work together to expand into Southeast Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in Southeast Asia.

MAS-licensed P2P lender Crowd Genie launches ICO [press release]

Crowd Genie Financial Services, an operator of a P2P lending platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, today announced the launch of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO” public sale through its related entity CGSPV.

Under its ICO, it is offering 60 million Crowd Genie Coins for sale at the price of one Ethereum for 400 CGCOINs. Aiming for a soft cap of US$5 million, the public sale is from 1 to 28 February 2018. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5 per cent and 25 per cent, will be given out for early buyers who make purchases within the public sale period.

Upon completion, the CGCOIN will be listed on several coin exchanges. Holders of CGCOINs can use it to invest in loans on Crowd Genie’s platform which offers potentially higher yields than many banks. Alternatively, they can trade it at the exchange.

Crowd Genie has to date raised close to US$2 million in funding.

Lankan startup Roar Media raises funding from Rajan Anandan [press release]

Sri Lanka-based news site Roar Media has raised an undisclosed sum in funding from a venture-backed by Google India chief Rajan Anandan.

The funding will fuel its aggressively growth plans. Roar Media is also looking at strengthening its offering in current languages, building a more video initiative and at launching at least 10 new language operations within the next couple of years.

Roar Media creates articles and videos in five different languages – English (the original Sri Lankan website), Sinhala, Hindi, Bangla and Tamil. Overall the group websites claims to have clocked around six million sessions and 20 million video views in January 2018.