Asia's weekly TOP10 crypto news (Jun 10 to Jun 16)
Colin Wu . 2024-06-16 . Data

1. Hong Kong Regulatory News This Week

1.1 Several Hong Kong Brokerage Apps Begin Offering Bitcoin Trading Services link

Hong Kong brokerages are currently expanding their offerings to include trading services for virtual assets such as Bitcoin. Companies like Victory Securities, Tiger Brokers, and Interactive Brokers have already launched these services. Investors can now trade Bitcoin and other virtual assets directly through these brokerage apps. Some firms have indicated that revenues related to virtual assets could constitute around a quarter of their total income.

To trade Bitcoin and other virtual assets on Hong Kong brokerage apps, investors need to open a virtual asset account in addition to their personal or corporate securities accounts. After opening these accounts, investors must complete and sign four documents, either electronically or in paper form: the Additional Agreement for Virtual Asset Trading, the Risk Disclosure Statement for Virtual Assets, a risk tolerance questionnaire, and a questionnaire assessing knowledge and experience with virtual assets.

1.2 Hong Kong Officials: Hong Kong Pioneers Embracing Web 3.0 Development link

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Christopher Hui recently wrote an article stating that he has introduced Hong Kong as a pioneer embracing Web 3.0 development to local regulators and the financial industry in Europe. He emphasized recent efforts in advancing market development through regulatory formulation, product innovation, and government financing. This October marks the flagship Web3 event in Hong Kong, providing an opportunity to invite relevant officials and regulatory leaders to attend the activities.

2. South Korea Releases Guidelines Defining NFTs and Virtual Assets link

Starting July 19th, with the enforcement of the South Korean “Virtual Asset User Protection Act,” guidelines have been issued concerning which Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) qualify as virtual assets. According to the implementation rules of the act, NFTs themselves are not classified as virtual assets. This principle remains unchanged, but NFTs that exhibit characteristics of virtual assets in practice may be treated as such. Companies issuing NFTs that fall under the category of virtual assets are required to declare their operations to the authorities as virtual asset service providers. NFTs that are issued in large quantities, are divisible, or serve as a means of payment are considered virtual assets under these guidelines.

3. Ripple Announces Launch of XPRL Japan-Korea Fund link

Ripple has announced the launch of the XRPL Japan-Korea Fund. The XRPL Japan-Korea Fund is part of Ripple’s commitment of 1 billion XRP (approximately $480 million), aimed at providing financial, technical, and business support to developers working on projects based on the XRP Ledger through XRPL grants and the XRPL Accelerator program. Ripple will collaborate with leading companies in Japan and Korea to integrate the use of the XRP Ledger, offering funding as well as technical and business support to promising projects developed on the XRP Ledger. Additionally, Ripple will support local events, hackathons, and educational initiatives in these regions.

4. Shanghai People’s Procuratorate Issues “2023 Shanghai Financial Prosecution White Paper” link

On June 12th, the Shanghai Municipal Prosecutor’s Office held a press conference to release the “2023 Shanghai Financial Prosecution White Paper.” According to the white paper, there has been innovation in the methods of forex-related and illegal payment settlement crimes, highlighting risks associated with cross-border asset transfers using “virtual currency.” The participants in these crimes exhibit diverse characteristics.

The legal framework in the financial sector needs further enhancement, and regulatory rules require urgent clarification and improvement. Despite China’s strong regulatory stance on “virtual currency,” practical challenges persist, such as difficulties in criminal judicial positioning of related activities, challenges in evidence collection, and monitoring of the flow of illicit funds. Disputes also arise regarding compulsory measures, audit assessments, valuation determinations, and disposal executions related to “virtual currency” cases.

Furthermore, existing laws currently lack clear prohibitive provisions for futures margin trading operations, posing challenges in criminal determinations.

5. Taiwan Establishes Cryptocurrency Industry Association, Joined by 24 Crypto Companies link

On June 13th, Taiwan established its cryptocurrency industry association. According to a statement released by the association on Thursday, 24 cryptocurrency companies have joined the Taiwan Virtual Asset Service Providers Association. All these companies have registered with the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Titan Cheng, Founder and CEO of BitoPro, will serve as the association’s chairman, while Winston Hsiao, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of XREX, will serve as vice chairman.

In addition, Citigroup, DBS Group Holdings Ltd., and other banks implicated in Singapore’s largest money laundering scandal are intensifying their scrutiny of wealthy clients and potential clients to avoid illegal fund flows. Sources familiar with the matter indicate that private bankers at several institutions are undergoing additional training to help detect methods used by criminals to conceal their backgrounds and the sources of their funds. Lending institutions are working to plug loopholes that allowed a group of criminals to launder over SGD 3 billion (approximately USD 2.23 billion) in online gambling proceeds through at least 16 financial institutions in Singapore.

6. Macau Financial Services Bureau: Exploring Opening Virtual Asset Activities under Controlled Risk link

The Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macau, Mr. Lei Wai Nong, responded to questions from local legislators, Mr. Kou Heng Kei and Mr. Chan Ka Lon, stating that under current regulatory policies, all financial institutions in Macau are prohibited from directly or indirectly providing any financial services related to virtual assets. The interdepartmental task force on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing will continue to monitor developments in this sector and international trends, exploring the possibility of opening certain virtual asset activities under manageable risks, as well as developing or revising relevant laws, regulations, and regulatory guidelines. The Macau government has no intention of investing hundreds of millions of yuan in the metaverse but instead supports the establishment of technology enterprises through the technology fund, thereby creating employment opportunities.

Earlier, upon invitation from the Macau Judiciary Police, Binance organized the first offline enforcement training course at the Macau Judiciary Police Academy on May 21. The training session, chaired by Carlos Mak, an expert from Binance’s investigation team, was attended by over 40 participants from the Criminal Investigation and Gaming and Economic Crime Investigation divisions. The training covered practical operations in blockchain and virtual asset-related crime investigations, as well as Binance’s collaboration experiences with global law enforcement agencies.

7. Singapore Enhances Scrutiny on Family Office Wealth, Requires Latest Information by End of June link

Singapore is tightening scrutiny over Family Offices (hereafter referred to as “family offices”), requiring them to provide updated information by the end of June and intensifying efforts to clear inactive companies. This move is believed to be part of a series of actions taken by Singapore authorities following the exposure of a 3 billion yuan money laundering scandal last year, which exposed regulatory loopholes. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will also appoint a professional team to screen individuals and entities applying for tax incentives for money laundering and terrorism financing risks. More details will be announced in the coming months. Currently, Singapore hosts many Family Offices catering to high-net-worth individuals involved in cryptocurrency.

8. Japanese Investment Firm Metaplanet Discloses $1.6 Million BTC Purchase, Holding Reaches 141 BTC link

Japanese investment firm Metaplanet has disclosed an additional purchase of 250 million yen (1.6 million USD) worth of BTC, increasing its holdings of the largest cryptocurrency to 141 BTC, valued at approximately 9.4 million USD. This marks their third BTC purchase since April 2024. Last month, the company indicated its strategy to use Bitcoin as a reserve asset to mitigate risks associated with Japanese debt burdens and fluctuations in the yen.

9. Turkey Considers Imposing 0.03% Tax on Crypto Transactions link

The Turkish Ministry of Treasury is considering imposing a 0.03% transaction tax on cryptocurrency trades to address budget deficits caused by earthquakes and to boost fiscal revenues. This measure is expected to generate 3.7 billion lira in government income annually. The proposal is part of Turkey’s fiscal reforms and is anticipated to be discussed in parliament by the end of this month.

10. Huobi HTX Announces Singaporean Footballer Hassan Sunny as Brand Ambassador link

On the evening of June 14, Huobi HTX announced that Singapore national football team goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has officially taken on the roles of Chief Security Officer and brand ambassador for Huobi HTX. On June 11, in the final group stage match of the first round of the 2026 World Cup Asian qualifiers, Singapore played away against Thailand. Sunny made 11 saves during the match and received a yellow card for time-wasting during injury time, helping China advance to the Round of 18 by finishing ahead of Thailand in their group.

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