This is a recap of major events in China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand in the past few weeks in blockchain, crypto & digital assets.
$4.2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies confiscated by the Chinese government
Chinese courts confiscated 194,775 BTC, 833,083 ETH, 487 million XRP, 79,581 BCH, 1.4 million LTC, 27.6 million EOS, 74,167 DASH, 6 billion DOGE, and 213,724 USDT from a massive Ponzi scheme. Report
Chinese Construction Bank canceled a blockchain-based bond issuance
China Construction Bank (CCB) in Malaysia’s Labuan branch unexpectedly halted a blockchain-based bond issuance valued at $3 billion, perpetually. The bond offering was designed for both institutional and retail investors who could purchase the bond with US dollars or bitcoin. Report
Although CCB was not the issuer, only a lead arranger and listing sponsor, it faced two regulatory challenges which led to the unsuccessful attempt. First, as early as 2013, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), together with other regulators, jointly issued a notice to restrict banks from using or circulating bitcoin in the marketplace as a currency. On Nov. 6, right before CCB’s listing of the tokenized bond, PBoC published “the 2020 Financial Stability Report”, which emphasizes the importance of risk-prevention in China’s financial market in the face of an increase in external pressure on China’s financial system, in particular, the importance of curbing default risks of large Chinese companies. It is widely speculated that the Report is also behind Ant Group’s halt of its IPO in both Mainland and Hong Kong.
China’s CBDC to challenge data monopoly in the marketplace
On Nov. 21, in a speech delivered at a conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, former Vice President of PBoC Yongli Wang told his audience that the anonymity feature offered by DC/EP, China’s central bank digital currency, may enable the central bank to take back the control of consumers’ data from commercial banks and third-party payment solution providers e.g. AliPay, WeChat Pay, and thus, break their data monopoly.
Chinese crypto companies look to Hong Kong and Singapore for opportunities
Chinese crypto-related financial services and asset management companies continue to diversify their businesses to Hong Kong and Singapore in the face of increasing scrutiny from Chinese regulators. Report
Huobi launches a regulated exchange in Malaysia
After receiving a digital asset trading brokerage service license from Malaysian regulators in Sept. 2020, Huobi announced the launch of an exchange which will support crypto spot and derivative trading. Report
China’s mining-related companies
Ebang, Nasdaq listed Chinese ASIC chip design and manufacturer of mining rigs, entered into a technology license agreement with a Korean company for its proprietary patent ASICBoost, which may help improve mining performance by 20%. Report
Ebang’s competitor Canaan, also listed on Nasdaq, just announced its financials for the 3rd quarter including revenue of RMB163 million ($25 million), down from RMB670.6 million ($102 million) for the same period last year.
Bitcoin mining equipment from leading mining manufacturers sold out
While Canaan and Ebang had a struggling 3rd quarter, the two major leading mining equipment manufacturers are taking preorders for next spring. Due to increasing demand from overseas institutions and limited wafer capacity of chip manufacturers, Bitmain and MicroBT have sold out of their equipment and are taking preorders for next spring. Report
U.S. intelligence community raising concerns about China’s dominance in bitcoin mining
The director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe sent a letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton calling for his attention to China’s dominance in bitcoin mining hash power as well as the launch of its central bank digital currency DCEP. Report
SBI introduces crypto lending business
Japanese financial services firm SBI recently began allowing its customers to deposit bitcoin and earn an annual interest of 1%. It plans to extend the services to XRP and ETH. Report
MUFG and Akami launching high-speed blockchain-based payment network
The joint venture Go-Net between Japanese bank MUFG and Massachusetts based Akami is set to launch a high-speed payment network based on blockchain sometime next year. Their original plan was for 2020. The venture claims that the network will be able to process 100,000 transactions per second vs. 70,000 by Visa. The two companies announced the formation of the joint venture in February 2019. Report
Japan trying to move from a cash country to a digital currency one
With its neighbor China aggressively pushing out CBDC, Japan is feeling the urgency to reduce its reliance on cash and to transform into a digital currency country through efforts from its private sector and the Central Bank. Report
Singapore ready for a CBDC for institutions
Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty said in an interview that Singapore is developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that will exclusively enable settlements of securities and payments among financial institutions. Report
Singapore banks competing to get into crypto business
The third-largest bank in Singapore, United Overseas Bank, is speculated to be getting into the crypto asset custody business after DBS publicly announced its plan to launch a crypto exchange and custody. Report
Thai SEC introduces new regulations regarding crypto assets
To support the fast growth of crypto trading activities in the country, the Thai SEC revised its Net Capital rule to help securities and derivatives brokers better manage liquidity and risk. The revisions may boost crypto/digital asset trading in Thailand. Report
Thai Fintech company challenging SWIFT and Western Union
Lightnet, a Thai Fintech company headquartered in Singapore, strives to be the primary cross-border intermediary of payment and settlement for banks and other institutions, replacing SWIFT and Western Union in Asia. After closing a $31 million Series A round in January Lightnet expects to complete $1 billion in transactions by the end of this year. Report
Defi incubator partnering with SCB 10X
SCB 10X, the venture arm of one of the largest commercial banks in Thailand, Siam Commercial Bank, is working with DeFi product incubator Alpha Finance Labs to jointly create a suite of Alpha DeFi products that will bridge the gap between the traditional and decentralized financial sectors. SCB 10X’s portfolio companies include Ripple and BlockFi. Report
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