HKMA Seeks Public Consultation for e-HKD Development

In Hong Kong, the local financial regulator has issued a discussion paper to the public, asking for the public opinions about introducing domestic retail central bank digital currency (rCBDC), or e-HKD. - 2022-04-28T174133.451.jpg

The Paper, published by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on Wednesday, Apr 27, entitled “e-HKD: a policy and design Perspective”, covers various issues, including the potential benefits or challenges brought by rCBDC, design considerations, such as the issuance mechanism of e-HKD.

Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said the Paper marks another milestone in our exploration of the e-HKD:

“We strongly encourage the public and the industry to take part in this important consultation and share their views with us. The comments received would help us formulate the strategy for best positioning our financial market in the rapidly evolving rCBDC space.”

This Paper is the second part of the study, followed by the initial findings mainly focusing on the technical perspectives of introducing e-HKD. The latter, meanwhile, mainly focuses on policy and design aspects of introducing the e-HKD.

HKMA asked for public opinions to submit their ideas before May 27.

Local media MingPao reported, citing Yue’s comments regarding the development of e-HKD, that one of the differences between digital payment and e-HKD is the level of risks. The head of HKMA emphasized that “the credit risk of e-HKD is zero,” as the digital currency is issued or supported by HKMA. In contrast, the deposit stored in digital wallets would be subject to retail institutions. Yet, the nature of digital currency is unable to be anonymous like the note tender; it has to be traceable at a certain level under supervision and regulation. The administration needs to be cautious regarding privacy and data access to users.

Outlook of developing e-HKD & cryptocurrency

Meanwhile, the city also faces various fintech challenges nowadays, including the development of digital payments and the rising of cryptocurrencies. HK needs to remain competitive among its regional counterparts in China and Asia. The administration has rolled out serval digital payment methods, including Octopus, FPS and even different mobile wallets, to respond to challengers like e-CNY trials from mainland China.

In addition, the authority also needs to speed up to explore the potential in terms of cryptocurrencies.

Early this week, The FinTech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK) said the institution supports in principle concerning HKMA’s proposed risk-based approach to the regulation of payment-related stablecoins. 

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Japan’s Double Jump.Tokyo Raises $24m to Scale Blockchain Gaming Products

Double Jump. Tokyo, a rapidly growing blockchain gaming startup in Japan, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $24 million (3 billion yen) in a Series C funding round.

This round of funding was led by Jump Crypto, a unit of U.S. trading group Jump Trading, along with a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency trading startup Amber Group, Japanese venture capital firm Jafco, and South Korean video game developer WeMade as well as other ten angel investors, also participated in the funding round.

Double Jump mentioned that it would use the fresh funding to accelerate the development of new gaming titles with major video game companies.

Hironobu Ueno, the CEO of Double Jump.Tokyo, commented about the funding and said: “The 3 billion yen raised will be used to invest in the joint development of IP-based blockchain games with major game companies, as well as in the underlying products, partner companies, and decentralized autonomous organisation (DAO) projects.”

Growing Business through Partnerships

Founded in 2018 by Hironobu Ueno, Double Jump.Tokyo has remained a proactive blockchain firm that develops games and NFT solutions for large-scale enterprises in the gaming and entertainment sector.

Double Jump was established just when the popular play-to-earn (P2E) NFT game Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based play-to-earn game, was starting to gain traction in Southeast Asia. In 2020, Axie Infinity exploded in popularity in the Philippines and other Asian countries where players could earn more than regular employment as Covid-19 destroyed jobs and forced many to stay home. While NFT gained wide recognition in 2021, its popularity and adoption continue to rise.

Since 2018, Double Jump has been developing and operating blockchain P2E games, which allow users to trade in-game items and characters as NFTs to earn crypto coins. The company has an extensive track record in NFT game development and offers NFT technology solutions and has partnered with some of the largest gaming firms and IP holders.

Japan is one of the leading content powerhouses in the world. Through media such as manga, anime, and games, the country owns many IPs worldwide, and new IPs are being created every day. Many development studios produce the world’s highest-level games in Japan.

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67% of Retail Investors See Crypto as a Trustworthy Investment, Study Shows

As a show of belief in the crypto space, 67% of retail or investors deem cryptocurrencies as trustworthy investments, while only 11% seeing them as untrustworthy, according to a study by crypto exchange Bitstamp.

The study was rolled out in 23 countries spread across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America and surveyed 23,113 retail investors and 5,502 institutional decision-makers.

Seen as an alternative to fiat money, most respondents noted that cryptocurrencies would offer a digital-first payments network, especially in emerging economies. 

Moreover, 80% of institutional investors acknowledged that crypto would edge out traditional investments within a decade. Per the report:

“The level of trust in crypto as an asset class is high, with 71% of investment professionals and 65% of retail consumer investors stating that they trust crypto.”

Bitstamp also noted that crypto use cases were immense because all respondents acknowledged having new digital asset types like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and stablecoins. 

When it comes to mainstream adoption, 75% of retail respondents and 88% of institutional investors stated that crypto would go through the roof within a decade. 

Meanwhile, institutional investments continue trickling into the crypto space, given that Venture Capital (VC) firms have sealed more than 1,000 crypto deals worth $17 billion in 2022, Blockchain.News reported. 

Furthermore, crypto investors were satisfied because their realized gains surged by 400% to hit $162.7 million in 2021. Realized gains entail profits accrued after selling a financial instrument like a commodity, share, or cryptocurrency. 

The Chainalysis study acknowledged that realized gains in the United States were the highest because they skyrocketed by 476%, from $8.1 billion recorded in 2020 to $47 billion in 2021.

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Singapore Financial Regulator Says Crypto Rules Must Be Strict but Clear

Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director, Ravi Menon, defended Wednesday the need for strict crypto rules to assist in mitigating potential risks facing retail investors as well as the use of digital assets for money laundering and terrorism financing purposes.

However, the head of Singapore’s Central Bank acknowledged that regulators need to provide clarity to the industry.

The executive made such important remarks while delivering a speech at the Financial Times Crypto and Digital Asset Summit yesterday.

Menon admitted that: “Our licensing process is stringent. And it needs to be because we want to be a responsible global crypto hub with innovative players, but also with strong risk management capabilities.”

Menon stated that the MAS has taken a tough stance on retail investing in cryptocurrency because the regulator is concerned about whether it is a good idea for retail investors to be dabbling in cryptocurrencies. “I think many global regulators share similar concerns about retail exposure to cryptocurrencies,” he elaborated.

The executive disclosed that the MAS looks at whether applicants have strong corporate governance structures in place, as well as robust track records. He mentioned crypto business providers should be familiar with money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

While Menon said that currently, crypto does not pose a threat to the financial system, he pointed out that money laundering and terrorism financing are the major risks. Such views differ from those of regulators in nations like India, where the central bank has repeatedly regarded cryptocurrency as a threat to financial stability.

How New Rules Impact Crypto Growth

The latest move by MAS comes as the regulator tries to strike a balance between nurturing the rapidly growing industry while taming its potential risks.

MAS’ crypto licensing process has been stringent as currently, the regulator has approved just a small fraction of about 87 license applications from digital payment token service providers, including from global crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken. To date, Singapore’s financial regulator has received more than 580 applications for payment services licenses.

A recent directive by the regulator has caught some crypto firms off guard. Early this month, Singapore passed a law to close a gap that had allowed domestically-registered virtual-asset service providers (VASPs) to provide their business abroad while evading oversight from the nation’s financial regulator at home.

The city-state’s parliament signed Part 9 of the Financial Services and Markets Bill into law on April 5. The legislation now requires such firms to be licensed for the purposes of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.

Singapore’s crypto regulations are both praised and considered tough among industry players looking to establish businesses there. In December last year, Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, withdrew its application for a license to operate its subsidiary in Singapore. Late last month, Bybit crypto exchange left Singapore and made Dubai UAE its global headquarter and moved its operations to the United Arab Emirates.


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DragonFly Capital Floats New $650m Crypto Fund

DragonFly Capital has launched a new Venture Capital Fund worth $650 million to continually invest in the broader digital currency ecosystem. (18).jpg

While earlier filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that the original target was to pull in $500 million, DragonFly notably saw oversubscribed participation from investors, including Tiger Global, KKR, Sequoia China, Ivy League endowments and an undisclosed Southeast Asian state-owned investment company.

As confirmed to TechCrunch by Haseeb Qureshi, DragonFly Capital’s managing partner, the funds will not be deployed to just a niche of the digital currency ecosystem but will be rather spread across the board from Decentralized Finance (DeFi) to gaming and the metaverse.

DragonFly Capital has backed more than 60 different startups in the space through two different Funds floated in 2018 and 2021 respectively. Qureshi confirmed that so much has changed in the industry over the past year with awareness of investment opportunities growing at a very fast pace. 

“We see more opportunities across the different stages and through the lifecycle of a company or protocol. Also, the market has also grown so much. When we first started investing, the entire market for crypto was a few hundreds of billions and now it’s in the multitrillions,” Qureshi said adding, “There’s a lot more understanding of the importance of crypto. There’s a lot more interest in crypto investments not just from traditional VCs or crypto VCs, but also traditional institutions that are now getting into crypto investments because they realize how important this stuff is.”

With the growth of the space, more venture funding has been entering the crypto ecosystem enmasse as investors look back on protocols that they believe will be pivotal to the future Web3.0 that is being envisaged. Besides DragonFly Capital, Paradigm Capital also floated a $2.5 billion crypto venture fund back in November last year, a gesture that is one amongst many others that have been floated this year.

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Dubai Real Estate Developer Damac Properties Accepts Crypto as Payments

Damac Properties, a major real estate development company, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced Wednesday that it would sell properties using Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment methods.

The Dubai-based firm stated that enabling purchases of properties through cryptos will revolutionise the future of real estate. Damac also mentioned that facilitating such an approach would offer convenience and optionality for global real estate investors.

Ali Sajwani, general manager of operations at Damac and lead of the company’s digital transformation initiatives, talked about the development and said: “This move towards customers holding cryptocurrency is one of our initiatives to accelerate the new economy for newer generations, and the future of our industry.”

Sajwani further stated: “It is crucial for global businesses like ours to stay at the top of evolution. Offering yet another transactional mode is exciting, and we are glad to recognise the value this technology brings to our customers.”

Earlier this week, the Damac Group, a UAE-based business conglomerate, announced plans to enter into the landscape of the metaverse and develop its own digital cities.

The Damac Group is the parent company of global property development firm Damac Properties, data centre company Edgnex, luxury jeweller de-Grisogono and fashion house Roberto Cavalli. The Group announced plans to invest funds up to $100 million for the metaverse project.

The group will be run under the banner, D-Labs’ and will be led by Ali Sajwani, Damac General Manager and the CEO of D-Labs.

The initiative is part of the company’s wide ambitions to enter into digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

Crypto Interest Increasing in the Region

The latest development echoes a trend whereby recently, many local firms in Dubai have been warming up to cryptocurrencies. This has been attributed to a significant rise in the crypto interest and adoption in the United Arab Emirates.

Currently, the Emirate has been promoting virtual assets with crypto-friendly regulations to enable Dubai to become a regional crypto hub. In March, Dubai passed legislation that significantly helped attract foreign crypto firms into the region.

As a result, the Bybit crypto exchange moved its headquarters to Dubai from Singapore and started operations this month. Another cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore,, also opened its regional hub in Dubai and announced plans to launch a huge recruitment drive in the coming months. Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and FTX, a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange, also recently acquired licenses and launched their operations in Dubai.

In February, KIKLABB, a Dubai government-owned licensing firm, allowed cryptocurrency as a payment option for its services. KIKLABB, which helps firms to set up in Dubai, permitted customers to pay for trade licenses and visa fees by Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Tether. 

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Gibraltar Introduces New Legislation to Combat Insider Trading and Market Manipulation

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has updated its regulatory guidelines for the digital currency ecosystem to include a 10th clause that addresses insider trading and market manipulation amongst crypto virtual asset service providers operating in the country.


Despite the requirements to adhere to the provisions of the 10th clause to help shore up the market integrity in Gibraltar, concerned startups will also be obligated to comply strictly with the requirements of the other nine regulatory guidelines first floated in 2018. The GFSC said that the introduction of the 10th regulatory clause is representative of all the stakeholders in the space, cutting across government representatives to crypto industry leaders.

“Since the introduction of the DLT regulatory framework in 2018, we have worked with government, specialist advisors, and industry to refine our guidance and ensure it is suited to this rapidly developing sector, providing both regulatory certainty to DLT Providers and robust protection to their growing consumer base,” said Kerry Blight, CEO of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

“The Market Integrity Principle and Guidance Note further strengthen the framework. They introduce a number of key responsibilities, designed to enable firms to root out insider trading and other forms of market abuse, improve standards around disclosure and transparency, and ultimately safeguard the rights and interests of consumers.”

As the country figured out its regulatory approach to the highly despised industry earl, Gibraltar’s doors are always wide open to cryptocurrency startups. While it first introduced its crypto regulations in 2018, the GFSC made a number of comprehensive updates to the guidelines back in September 2020, as reported by Blockchain.News at the time.

The forward approach of Gibraltar towards digital currencies has moved a number of companies including Huobi Global exchange to change its operating headquarters from Seychelles to the country back in November last year.

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Cambodia Bars Using and Trading of Crypto

In Asia, the Cambodian Ministry of Finance and Economics announced on Wednesday that no-issuance and circulation of cryptocurrencies would be allowed in the country. 

The agency, which is responsible for the administration of financial and economic policy and affairs in the Kingdom of Cambodia, released a document, stating that despite the rapid growth of fintech and its significant impact on the global economy in recent years, the Cambodian government has not changed its policy of banning the use of crypto coins. 

According to the document, the National Bank of Cambodia, the Cambodian Ministry of Finance and Economics, the Securities Commission, and the National Police have jointly issued a statement that prohibits any issuance, circulation, and trading of cryptocurrencies in the country. So far, the Cambodian government has not awarded a business license to any crypto firm in the nation, meaning that it is illegal to issue, circulate, and trade crypto assets in Cambodia.

The Cambodian Ministry of Finance and Economics further stated that currently Cambodia’s draft FinTech Development Policy is in force to ensure that the nation can benefit from the rapid development of financial technology and minimize risks.

The agency also mentioned that the Cambodian government has introduced some new policies and measures in order to promote the revitalization and recovery of the economy after the pandemic of COVID-19. The government believes fintech is one of the key policies that would enable such recovery.

Gearing Up for CBDC

The latest move indicates that Cambodian authorities are taking more steps to crack down on cryptocurrencies.

In October 2020, the Central Bank of Cambodia adopted blockchain technology to offer digital versions of its own digital currency to steer citizens away from trading in what many perceive to be a bubble associated with cryptocurrencies.

During that time, The National Bank of Cambodia launched its digital currency, Bakong – a blockchain-based digital payment system – as part of effort to wean people off US dollar transactions with a digital alternative and to encourage cashless transactions.

Since trading cryptocurrency is illegal in Cambodia, trading levels have been quite low. However, many local investors are actively trading cryptos through foreign platforms.


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ByteDance Taking a Deep Dive into the Metaverse

The metaverse is a projected big place, but one whose scope is still shaping up as it is in its infancy.


While many Western multinational tech firms, led by Meta Platforms Inc are pioneering the metaverse drive, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance is making moves to escalate its influence on this nascent ecosystem in the East.

ByteDance made its move known back in November when it acquired Pico, an Extended Reality (XR) hardware manufacturer to help advance its course. Since this acquisition was made, ByteDance has been pushing the frontiers of its agenda as it seeks to introduce new software, content, and other resources that it will need to control the metaverse space.

Decoupling from Crypto

While blockchain protocols are also in the race to control what the metaverse shapes up to become in the next couple of years, the approach from ByteDance is poised to be more centralized, further taking similarities with Meta’s efforts.

Despite blockchain startups brandishing open-source codes to their innovations, the multinational tech firms that are pushing for a metaverse embrace are notably filing well-guarded patents and Trademarks that will give them a competitive edge against other players in the space.

While many may adjudge ByteDance to be trailing behind Meta Platforms in terms of the metaverse pursuits, the company has deep pockets and is already an entertainment company, a resource it can easily tilt in its own favour. While Meta Platforms will continually present itself as a major competitor to the Chinese tech behemoth, its current traction is worth reckoning with.

Brands Embrace the Metaverse

Since it is becoming a phenomenon that many now consider crucial for the future of social interactions, a number of global brands cutting across technology, fashion, and even banking are now exploring avenues to integrate metaverse-hinged solutions for the benefit of their customers.

From JPMorgan Chase floating a metaverse on Decentraland to the grand entry of Nissan and Toyota into the metaverse, different industries have continued to experience a growing embrace of the next frontier of the internet across the board.

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Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin as Legal Tender, Second Country Following El Salvador

Central African Republic (CAR) has officially adopted Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal tender in the country.


The move was ushered in with the unanimous adoption of the premier digital currency by the country’s lawmakers, who noted that the coin will now operate in correlation with the CFA franc.

As confirmed by the Chief of Staff to President Faustin Archange Touadera, Obed Namsio said the bill has been signed into law by the President. According to Namsio, the Central African Republic “is the first country in Africa to adopt bitcoin as legal tender,” Namsio said, adding that “This move places the Central African Republic on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries.”

The CAR is one of the least economically buoyant countries in the world whose economy is solely dependent on mining. With the new legal tender, citizens, as well as businesses, will be able to transact in the digital currency, a trend that will be markedly different from other African nations, like Nigeria, known to have banned financial institutions working in the country from having business relationships with crypto trading service providers.

Indirectly Defying International Bodies?

While not much is known about the proceedings leading to the adoption of BTC as legal tender in CAR, the stance of the World Bank as well as those of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is known through their objection to a related move made by El Salvador pre and post-September 7 last year.

Taking a cue from El Salvador, there has been a significant investment in digital currencies as President Nayib Bukele is known to always buy the dip – stacking up new Bitcoin units in periods of price corrections, a luxury that the CAR may not have.

There are a series of surveys that also suggest the BTC adoption in El Salvador is not as popular as widely publicized by the government. While still in its infancy, the CAR Bitcoin journey is one that is worth watching out for.

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