Today’s top tech news, Feb 5: China cracks down hard on cryptocurrencies

Also, the Samsung heir is released from prison and a hilarious cat-app gets funding

China moves ahead with a massive crypto-crackdown — SCMP

Chinese authorities have done everything in their power to stamp out cryptocurrency trading within their country. According to the SCMP, China is planning to block all websites associated with cryptocurrency trading — including foreign websites. This includes ICOs and foreign trading platforms like Coinbase.

It also coincides with an announcement that the country is cracking down on VPNs by forcing people or companies to go through government sanctioned VPNs (which, presumably, would not unblock cryptocurrency platforms).

This is the latest string of bad news in what has been a rough week for cryptocurrencies. As of publishing, the price of Bitcoin had dropped below US$8,000 after seeing a peak of nearly US$20,000 in December. The other alt-coins have dropped as well.

Samsung heir walks free – [Reuters]

Jay Y. Lee, the heir to the Samsung empire who was jailed as part of the corruptions scandal that took down former President Park Geun-hye has been released from prison after serving one year.

According to Reuters, a South Korean appeals court reduced the total corruption sentence to two-and-a-half years and then suspended charges of bribery and embezzlement. The result is Lee is now a free man.

He was found guilty of bribing Park to help give the green-light to a business consolidation that increased his control over Samsung. The case highlighted the culture around Korean Chaebols (conglomerates) and their cozy relationship with the government.

Singapore Airlines gets on blockchain — [e27}

Singapore Airlines is planning to build a mobile wallet for its KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme and it is building the product on the blockchain. The company said it has already completed the proof-of-concept process and hopes to launch the service in six months.

“This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalise’ KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong, in an official press statement.

Chinese WeChat programme that allows people to feed virtual treats to virtual cats nabs funding — [KrAsia]

MeowCard, a Chinese company that has built a cat-lady friendly WeChat mini-programme, has raised funding from Matrix Partners China and Vertex Ventures China, according to KrAsia.

Cat owners on WeChat use the programme to upload photos of their feline overlords and then receive an ID tag for the cat. Then the community can “feed” these kittens virtual treats and it also includes a daily ranking system.

The company was launchd in December, 2017 and has already amassed 700,000 users and 20 million page views.

Also Read: With $1.3 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen and counting, here are 3 ways exchanges can improve security

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