Asia’s weekly TOP10 crypto news (May 6 to May 12)
Colin Wu . 2024-05-12 . Data

1. Hong Kong Regulatory News This Week

1.1 Issuer: Rumors of Hong Kong ETF Being Included in Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect are Unfounded link

The CEO of Harvestglobal, one of the issuers of Hong Kong’s inaugural virtual asset spot ETF, Mr. Han Tongli, has expressed consideration for enabling mainland investors to directly purchase their Bitcoin and Ether products through the ETF Connect program. Assuming all goes smoothly in the next two years, Jasset does not rule out applying to include their cryptocurrency ETF in the mutual market access scheme linking mainland China and Hong Kong exchanges. ETF Connect, launched in May 2022, allows mainland investors to access a selection of curated ETFs listed in Hong Kong and is part of the Stock Connect program. However, Hong Kong’s Bitcoin and Ethereum futures ETFs introduced in 2022 have not yet been included in Stock Connect.

Richard Byworth, Managing Partner at SyzCapital and a Bitcoin investor, suggests that the Hong Kong Bitcoin spot ETF may potentially be included in the Stock Connect program, a component of the traditional southbound capital initiative for Chinese funds. Hong Kong ETF issuers affirm that rumors suggesting southbound funds could purchase Hong Kong Bitcoin ETFs are entirely false. Hong Kong’s ETF circular explicitly states the prohibition on selling virtual asset-related products to investors in mainland China.

1.2 The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is studying matters related to tokenized deposits in interbank settlement and clearing link

Licensed individual Mr. Pang Baolin from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission revealed that the market is anticipating Hong Kong to promote interoperability in virtual asset trading and tokenization of physical assets (STO). The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has conducted sandbox studies on tokenized deposits for interbank settlement and clearing matters, paving the way for future tests on digital Hong Kong dollars and stablecoin payments. These efforts are part of preparing for innovative financial market infrastructure and future digitization in Hong Kong.

1.3 HKMA announces the establishment of the Ensemble Project Architecture Working Group to support the development of tokenized markets link

Today, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the establishment of the Ensemble project architecture working group to collaborate with industry stakeholders in setting standards and providing recommendations to support the development of tokenized markets in Hong Kong. The working group will drive the formulation of industry standards to facilitate interoperability between wholesale central bank digital currencies (wCBDC), tokenized currencies, and tokenized assets. Initially, the focus will be on establishing mechanisms for tokenized asset trading and interbank settlement of tokenized deposits using wCBDC. The working group will also assist in designing and building a sandbox for the Ensemble project, planned for launch in mid-2024, to further research and test tokenization use cases. Initial members include the HKMA, the Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Centre for Clearing and Settlement Innovation (a hub under the Bank for International Settlements), the CBDC Expert Group, and seven private institutions including Hang Seng Bank, HashKey Group, Ant Group, and Microsoft Hong Kong.

2. South Korea Weekly News

2.1 Financial authorities in South Korea are incorporating token delisting criteria into the “Virtual Asset User Protection Act” as best practices link

South Korean financial authorities have confirmed that token delisting criteria will be included in the best practices for complying with the Virtual Asset User Protection Act, set to be announced in early June and effective from July. The proposed best practices will cover listing standards for virtual assets, guidelines for maintaining listed trading, prohibition of listing virtual assets with a history of hacking attacks, and the requirement to release a Korean whitepaper and technical manual for overseas virtual asset listings.

2.2 South Korea’s largest annual blockchain event, Korea Blockchain Week 2024, announced a lineup of keynote speakers link

South Korea’s largest annual blockchain event, Korea Blockchain Week 2024, has announced a lineup of keynote speakers. The first group of speakers includes Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, Evan Cheng from Sui Network, Mike Belshe from BitGo, and Yat Siu from Animoca Brands. The event is scheduled to take place from September 1st to 7th, 2024.

3. Taiwan recently passed new regulations on virtual assets known as the “Anti-Fraud New Four Laws” link

Taiwan recently passed a new regulation called the “Anti-Fraud Four New Laws,” which includes the following provisions:

Any virtual asset service provider that fails to complete anti-money laundering registration may face up to 2 years of imprisonment.

Actions involving the use of virtual asset accounts or third-party payment accounts for money laundering purposes will be subject to a sentence ranging from 6 months to 5 years, with a maximum fine of 50 million New Taiwan dollars.

4. The Philippines SEC plans to introduce a crypto regulatory framework in the second half of this year link

Emilio B. Aquino, Chairman of the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has announced plans to introduce a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and their transactions in the latter half of this year. The aim is to standardize cryptocurrency trading in the country with a primary focus on safeguarding investor interests.

5. Indonesian authorities have dismantled a synthetic marijuana laboratory that accepted cryptocurrency payments link

Last week, Indonesian police dismantled a counterfeit cannabis lab in a luxurious area of Majalengka, West Java province. Deputy Chief of the Jakarta Police, Suyudi Ario Seto, revealed that the raw materials for this counterfeit cannabis were paid for using cryptocurrency, although the exact proportion remains unclear. The lab was producing MDMB-4en-PINACA, a synthetic chemical similar to cannabis, classified as a highly dangerous drug under Ministry of Health Regulation №30 of 2023. The criminal syndicate had been operating for six months before their arrest.

6. Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck submits a merger statement to the SEC link

The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, in collaboration with the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Thunder Bridge Capital Partners IV, has submitted an F-4 registration statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is anticipated that the two parties will complete their business merger in either the second or third quarter of 2024. Following the merger, Coincheck Group B.V. will be renamed Coincheck Group N.V. and is expected to be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “CNCK”. Last year in May, Coincheck had announced a delayed listing plan.

7. Binance and KuCoin have registered with India’s Financial Intelligence Unit link

Binance and KuCoin have registered with India’s Financial Intelligence Unit, which is part of the Ministry of Finance. This marks the first approval by the country’s anti-money laundering department for offshore cryptocurrency entities. KuCoin has paid a fine of $41,000 and has resumed operations; Binance’s economic penalties are pending confirmation following a hearing by the financial intelligence agency, after which it is expected to resume operations upon payment of the fine.

8. Chainalysis opens a regional headquarters in Dubai link

Blockchain analytics company Chainalysis has established a regional headquarters in Dubai, serving Southern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. The company’s CEO, Michael Gronager, stated: “The true potential and value of cryptocurrencies lie in their ability to transfer value, and we are seeing an overall increase in transfer activity. Adoption is the fundamental story of success in this industry, and the UAE is well-positioned to lead in innovation, offering tangible value to consumers and businesses through innovative use cases.”

9. LD Capital, Antalpha Ventures, and Highblock announce the formation of Hong Kong’s first ETF liquidity fund link

LD Capital, Antalpha Ventures, and Highblock have jointly established Hong Kong’s first ETF liquidity fund, valued at HK$1 billion (approximately $128 million USD). This fund aims to provide market-making services for Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency ETFs, with the goal of enhancing liquidity, improving fund flow efficiency, and reducing risks associated with liquidity and trading volatility.

10. A large amount of Hong Kong residents’ data is being auctioned on the dark web with demands for payment in Tether link

According to Wen Wei Po, recently, the Hong Kong Institute of Professional Education and Luk Fook Jewelry fell victim to hackers. Approximately 450GB of files from the Institute of Professional Education were posted on the dark web, and nearly ten thousand people have accessed the data. Recently, hackers posted on Telegram claiming that 5 million Luk Fook members’ data is for sale on the “dark web” for 25,000 Thai baht (approximately HK$195,000). The leaked information includes members’ names, birthdates, addresses, ID numbers, emails, account passwords, phone numbers, and WeChat accounts, including personal data of mainland and local customers.

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