1. Hong Kong’s weekly summary
1.1 Hong Kong Legislator Proposes Including Bitcoin Purchases in Investor Immigration link
On November 13th, according to Sing Tao Daily, the Hong Kong government has reinstated its investment immigration program after an 8-year hiatus. However, this program does not allow investment in real estate and is not open to mainland Chinese residents. Legislative Council member in Hong Kong’s technology and innovation sector, Dennis Kwok, hopes that the authorities can clarify the scope of assets, such as categorizing Bitcoin traded on licensed virtual asset exchanges as financial products. In theory, this should also allow for inclusion in the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme.
1.2 Hong Kong’s HKMA — Hoping to Explore New Use Cases for Digital Hong Kong Dollars with the Industry link
On November 19th, according to Hong Kong 01, the first phase of the Digital Hong Kong Dollar Pilot Program has been completed. Chief Fintech Officer at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority stated that the second phase is planned for next year, with the hope of exploring new use cases with the industry. He emphasized that the “Digital Hong Kong Dollar” is not intended to replace existing electronic payment systems, and the specific launch date is yet to be determined. Additionally, the Digital Hong Kong Dollar has the potential to bring significant value to the retail payment ecosystem, including programmability, tokenization, and instant settlement, facilitating faster, more cost-effective, and inclusive transactions, benefiting new economic activities such as Web3 transactions.
1.3 HashKey Submits Listing Applications for Four Cryptocurrencies to the Hong Kong SFC, Expected to Allow Retail Trading Opportunities Next Year link
On November 16th, according to Sing Tao Daily, the Chief Operating Officer of HashKey Group, announced that they have submitted applications to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission for the listing of four cryptocurrencies. They are currently waiting for further inquiries and approvals from the regulatory authority, with hopes of allowing retail investors to trade these assets next year. He mentioned that by the end of this year, the number of assets open to professional investors is expected to increase to 15 to 20, with a focus on exploring assets related to RWA (Real World Assets) in the coming year. Currently, retail investors can only invest in Bitcoin and Ethereum on their platform.
2. Singapore’s Weekly Summary
2.1 Singapore’s MAS Chief — Cryptocurrencies Haven’t Passed the Test of Digital Currency, Stablecoins with Good Regulation Have Promising Futures link
On November 16th, Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), delivered a keynote speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival. He stated that stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), rather than cryptocurrencies, will become part of the future financial ecosystem. Menon emphasized that cryptocurrencies have performed poorly as a means of exchange or store of value due to their price volatility. MAS views well-regulated stablecoins as promising digital currencies that will complement CBDCs and tokenized bank liabilities. Menon cited StraitsX stablecoin and Paxos’ new USD-backed stablecoin as examples. He also mentioned that MAS is driving the Global Ledger Initiative (GL1), aimed at facilitating seamless cross-border transactions and global trading of tokenized assets.
2.2 Singapore MAS’s Tokenization Pilot Includes Licensed Instances on the Avalanche Blockchain link
On November 15th, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unveiled tokenization pilots, including a permissioned instance of the Avalanche blockchain developed in collaboration with Citibank, T.Rowe Price, and Fidelity International. In the proof-of-concept solution, the spot forex price for the USD/SGD currency pair is transmitted to the blockchain using oracles. Once selected by smart contracts, the blockchain serves as an immutable record of the transaction. The tokenization deposit pilots will go live in the next month on two smart contract platforms, one for Chinese securities settlement and another for syndicated loans.
2.3 Two Central Banks Jointly Announce Project DESFT link
On November 15, 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Ghana jointly announced the Project DESFT, an innovative blockchain-based inclusive fintech solution. This project, incubated by Solv and zCloak Network, aims to transform enterprise digital identities, various bills, and certificates in cross-border trade into trusted digital credentials. These credentials will then be tokenized on-chain using the ERC-3525 standard, with the goal of enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing regions to participate in international import and export trade. ERC-3525 is a semi-fungible token standard designed by the Solv team.
3. South Korean Prosecutors Seek 8-Year Prison Term for Former Bithumb Board Members link
On November 17th, according to South Korean media Decenter, South Korean prosecutors have requested an 8-year prison sentence for Lee Jung-hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb, the second-largest virtual asset exchange in South Korea. Lee Jung-hoon is charged with violating the Specific Economic Crimes Aggravated Punishment Act and is accused of embezzling 110 billion Korean won (approximately 85 million USD).
4. Taiwanese Cosmetic Clinic Owners Prosecuted for Allegedly Running Cryptocurrency Mining Farm, Accused of Stealing Over TWD 150 Million in Electricity link
On November 18th, a Taiwanese couple surnamed Zheng, who operates a chain of medical aesthetic clinics, set up cryptocurrency mining farms at eight locations in Taichung City, Taiwan, investing at least more than 10 million New Taiwan Dollars (approximately 360,000 USD). They had been stealing electricity for over 2 years, with the stolen electricity amounting to over 150 million New Taiwan Dollars (approximately 5.4 million USD). The Taichung District Prosecutor’s Office investigated the case and has charged the Zheng couple and three others with aggravated theft.
5. Indian Supreme Court Rejects Petition to Instruct Government to Formulate Cryptocurrency Guidelines link
On November 15th, the Supreme Court of India rejected a petition that sought to instruct the government and relevant authorities to formulate guidelines for regulating cryptocurrency trading and mining. The court’s order stated that the true purpose of the petition was to seek bail in pending litigation against the petitioner, thereby rejecting the action on its merits. The petitioner was Manu Prashant Wig, a director of Blue Fox Motion Picture Limited, the entity behind CEX Tokenz Limited. He is currently under judicial custody on charges of “inducing people to invest in a scheme.”
6. Philippines to Sell at Least PHP 10 Billion in One-Year Tokenized Government Bonds link
On November 16th, according to Bloomberg, the Philippines is set to issue tokenized government bonds for the first time next Monday. They will offer at least 10 billion pesos (approximately $179 million) of one-year tokenized bonds and reserve the right to change the issuance size. According to their issuance notice, the Philippines Department of Finance will issue tokenized bonds to institutional buyers that will mature in November 2024, with a minimum face value of 10 million pesos and increments of 1 million pesos. The final interest rate will be determined through the establishment of an order book and will be announced on November 20th. The Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines are the issuing managers.
7. Boyaa Interactive Seeks Shareholder Authorization to Purchase Up to USD 100 Million in Cryptocurrencies Within One Year link
On November 14th, the Hong Kong-listed company Boyaa Interactive announced in a statement that, following the formal approval of the resolution regarding authorization and potential cryptocurrency purchases by its shareholders’ special meeting, it plans to make potential cryptocurrency purchases within a 12-month period from that date, with a total amount not exceeding $100 million. The plan is to primarily purchase cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH using $45 million each, with an additional purchase of not more than $10 million worth of USDT and USDC. These purchases will take place on regulated and licensed trading platforms in the public market, including but not limited to HashKey Exchange. Boyaa Interactive, self-proclaimed as China’s largest developer and operator of chess and card games, is actively building a team to promote Web3 game development.
8. Bitget invested in OSL and Foresight Ventures acquires The Block
8.1 Bitget Hong Kong Company Invests HKD 710 Million in OSL’s Parent Company link
On November 13th, BitgetX HK issued an announcement stating that, due to business and market-related considerations, they have decided not to apply for a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong. The BitgetX website will cease operations starting from December 13, 2023, and BitgetX HK will permanently exit the Hong Kong market. In April of this year, Bitget transferred Hong Kong users to BitgetX HK, and they were unable to access the global site.
On November 14th, the BGX Group agreed to subscribe to the shares of BC Technology Group, the parent company of compliant exchange OSL, with an investment amount of approximately HKD 710 million. Patrick Pan, the CEO of BGX, is also the CEO of BitgetX. BC Technology Group currently has a market capitalization of around HKD 2 billion. According to the Hong Kong Economic Times, BC Technology will issue 187.6 million new shares to BGX, equivalent to approximately 42.79% of the existing share capital. The shareholding of BC Technology’s major shareholders, industrial stock shell king Gao Zhenshun and Lu Jianbang’s East Harvest, will decrease from 42.77% to 29.96%, while Shawn Liu’s future shareholding will be 29.97%. Shawn Liu plans to nominate Patrick Pan and Yang Chao as executive directors of BC Technology.
8.2 Foresight Ventures Acquires Majority Stake in The Block link
On November 13th, according to a Bloomberg report, Foresight Ventures acquired a majority stake in The Block from former CEO Michael McCaffrey. Michael McCaffrey had previously received funding from Alameda, led by SBF. The transaction was conducted directly between Foresight and Michael McCaffrey. Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the transaction was valued at over $50 million and required confidentiality regarding the specific details of the deal, which have not been publicly disclosed. Axios reporter Sara Fischer estimated the transaction to be valued at $70 million. Larry Cermak, the current CEO of The Block, confirmed Foresight’s acquisition of a majority stake and stated that he would continue to serve as CEO.
9. Paxos to Launch New USD Stablecoin in Singapore link
On November 16th, Paxos established a new entity in Singapore with plans to issue a new USD-backed stablecoin. The company has received preliminary approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and will issue a stablecoin that complies with Singapore’s stablecoin regulatory framework.
10. Justin Sun: Hackers’ Identities Confirmed for Poloniex, Will Offer $10 Million White Hat Bounty if Funds Are Returned link
On November 18th, according to PeckShield monitoring, Justin Sun has left a recent on-chain message regarding the Poloniex hacker, stating that his identity has been confirmed, and police from China, the United States, and Russia are all involved in the investigation. All stolen funds have been marked and tracked, rendering them unusable, and funds on the other side will be frozen. If the attacker returns the assets by November 25th, a $10 million white-hat bounty will be offered. If they fail to do so, law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions will take action.