Today’s top tech news, Feb 2: India wants to completely remove use of cryptocurrency

Also, Alibaba’s valuation fell by US$30 million and its affiliate Ant Financial pumped US$200 million into Zomato

India wants to eliminate cryptocurrency usage [Reuters]

The Indian government said it will implement measures to remove the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.

“The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

India’s finance ministry had previously called cryptocurrency investments a Ponzi scheme. The tax authorities also sent notices to thousands of cryptocurrency traders in the country.

The Indian government will, however, continue to explore cryptocurrency’s underlying technology, blockchain, to boost its digital economy.

South Korean internet company Kakao lists GDR on the SGX [press release]

Kakao, developer of popular South Korean messaging app KakoTalk, has listed its Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX)’s mainboard. Kakao’s underlying common shares are listed on the Korean stock exchange.

Kakao previously said it will list US$1 billion GDRs to overseas investors fund acquisitions and R&D.

Asia Law Network brings Quick Consult service to new markets [press release]

Singapore-based online lawyer network Asia Law Network has expanded its Quick Consult service to new markets including Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and Indonesia.

Quick Consult allows individuals and businesses to connect with experienced lawyers for a 15-minute phone consultation from just S$49 (U$37).

The service has also expanded its consultation topics to include LGBT issues, Syariah and Shariah Law as well as business matters like competition law and contract disputes

Alibaba’s valuation fall by US$30 billion [Bloomberg]

Alibaba’s valuation has fallen by US$30 billion after it reported lower profit margins.

While the company’s revenue exceeded analysts’ estimates, its operating margins fell to 31 per cent last quarter from 39 per cent the year before.

Alibaba plans to purchase a 33 per cent stake in its affiliate payments giant Ant Financial, which would help it prepare for an IPO.

Ant Financial makes US$200 million investment into Zomato [e27]

In other Ant Financial news, the company has made a US$200 investment in Zomato, an Indian-based online restaurant discovery and food delivery company with operations in many parts of the world, including Asia.

The funding includes a US$50 million secondary share sale by Zomato’s key shareholder Info Edge (India) Ltd to Ant Financial. India-based InfoEdge currently holds 45 per cent stake in Zomato.

Founded in India in 2008, Zomato has grown into a global restaurant search and discovery website and app, providing in-depth information for over 1.4 million restaurants across 22 countries.

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