FTX Founder says Hong Kong Could be Top Blockchain Hub in Asia

Crypto exchange FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said that, unlike the West, although Asia does not have a key web3, blockchain and cryptocurrency hotspot, Hong Kong could emerge as a leader in that sector.

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Speaking virtually during the annual Hong Kong FinTech Week 2022, Bankman-Fried said that other potential locations in Asia are Singapore and Busan.

“If you look at what the crypto hubs will be in the world, I think the Bahamas looks like one of them, Dubai looks like one of them, but if you look at the East, it’s not as obvious. It could be Singapore, could be somewhere like Busan in Korea, but I think there is a real chance it ends up being Hong Kong,” Bankman-Fried said.

Furthermore, the world’s youngest billionaire Bankman-Fried added that the Hong Kong government’s crypto initiative to start a consultation on legalising crypto trading by retail investors is a positive sign for a brighter future for crypto in the region.

Hong Kong is planning to issue tokenised green bonds and prepare for the development of the digital Hong Kong Dollar.

Financial Secretary of HKSAR Paul Chan spoke virtually during the Fintech Week on Monday to introduce the latest policy statement on virtual assets to the public, saying that “we want to make our policy stance clear to global markets, to demonstrate our determination to explore financial innovation together with the global, virtual-assets community,” hoping to maximise with the advantages and innovation of Fintech in terms of virtual assets.

Regarding the upcoming tokenisation of green bonds, Eddie Yu, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), spoke at the same event and disclosed that the authority is planning to issue the first batch of green bonds this year globally, aiming to promote the product to retail investors on a small scale first. Details will be announced further later.

FTX was relocated from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in 2021 due to regulatory uncertainty.

Bankman-Fired also confirmed last week that FTX is planning to launch its own stablecoin.

Speaking in an interview with Web3 news media, The Big Whale, Bankman-Fried discussed several of the industry’s perceptions concerning the exchange’s position atop the ongoing crypto winter.

As against the popular belief that FTX is the biggest winner in the industry based on its success in snapping up Voyager Digital and BlockFi, both crypto lenders that got riled up as prices of assets tumbled, Bankman-Fried reiterated that its role, irrespective of the perception is to help maintain industry balance which will, in turn, benefit everyone.

Acknowledging that this current crypto winter is the “first real Bear Market we’ve been through,” the FTX boss acknowledged that the market downtime is not affecting its business as such as it is always innovating.

“One of the main characteristics of crypto platforms is that our operation is not impacted by the market downturn any more than that,” he said, “Every day we continue to grow the business, and create services and new tools for customers. So, yes, the markets are less dynamic, things are a little tenser, but in the end, it doesn’t take us off course.”

Meanwhile, neighbouring Singapore is building measures to tighten its crypto regulations on retail investors.

Last week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unveiled a proposal to restrict retail participation in digital assets. Following this, small investors will be banned from funding coin purchases through borrowing.

Singapore’s central bank echoed sentiments similar to that of the MAS by asking companies to stop using tokens deposited by retail investors for lending or staking to generate yield. However, the restrictions proposed by the two regulatory bodies will not be applicable to high-net-worth investors.

However, Singapore is taking these moves to ensure positive growth of the crypto industry with security measures that will provide safety to investors.

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FTX Wins Bid to Take Over Bankrupt Voyager’s Assets

Digital-asset exchange FTX will now acquire the assets of bankrupt crypto brokerage Voyager Digital Ltd.

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FTX took over the assets after winning an auction with a bid of about $50 million, the information was shared by people familiar with the matter.

The digital-asset exchange is controlled by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

The purchase has come after several earlier attempts by the FTX to bail out or acquire Voyager, according to Bloomberg. 

New York-based Voyager had about 3.5 million users at the end of March, and 1.19 million funded accounts.

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Liz Hoffman broke the news on Twitter about FTX winning the auction and the acquisition of Voyager. She also shared price details, citing people she did not identify.

“Crypto exchange FTX is the winning bidder for bankrupt crypto lender Voyager, ppl familiar said. Purchase price of ~$50m but could eventually be twice that if AUM and other milestones are hit,” she tweeted.

Voyager filed for bankruptcy protection in July. It did so after a failed attempt by Alameda Research to bail it out with a revolving line of credit. Alameda Research is a trading house affiliated with FTX.

Soon after that attempt, FTX and Alameda disclosed a joint bid for Voyager. However, Voyager called it a “low-ball” offer and declined the attempt. While in September, Alameda said it will return about $200 million worth of Bitcoin and Ether it had borrowed from Voyager by the end of the month.

Besides Voyager, Bankman-Fried has bought several distressed crypto firms, through which he has scooped of customers and valuable technologies at a cheaper price.

Bankman-Fried is estimated to own more than 50% off FTX, 70% of FTX US, and almost all of Alameda.

Crypto platform BlockFi was also under FTX’s acquisition radar earlier this year, along with a potential takeover of Robinhood Markets Inc., where Bankman-Fried owns a stake. 

According to a source, FTX is in the process of raising a $1 billion funding round. The deal has not closed yet or been made public, the source familiar with the deal added.

Reportedly, negotiations are ongoing and confidential, and the company will raise as much as $1 billion in order to keep the previous valuation of $32 billion, but conditions could be changed, according to sources.

As reported by Blockchain.News on Feb 1, FTX Derivatives Exchange has concluded its Series C funding round, which raised $400 million to increase its valuation to $32 billion. Current existing investors include Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, and Tiger Global.

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FTX CEO Says Crypto Winter Bailout had ‘Mixed’ Results

Sam Bankman-Fried, the Chief Executive Officer of FTX Derivatives Exchange, has shared his hopes about the company’s bouts of investment in distressed crypto firms.


In an interview with Bloomberg, Bankman-Fried described the investment prospects as ‘Mixed’ noting that some of them may be profitable while some others may not.

Per his response when asked if he expects the investments to be profitable, the 30-year-old crypto billionaire said “mixed is basically the answer. I think some were going to turn out to be profitable, some won’t be. I mean, with Voyager, I think there’s $70 million there that we put in that I’m not sure we’re ever seeing again,” adding that the situations at the time pushed his team to make.


“..snap judgment calls, and we made them such that if things turned out well, they’d be good investments, and if they turned out badly, they’d be bad investments. But we sort of limited the amount that we could lose from it,” he added.


Bankman-Fried’s Take on Crypto Winter and Regulation

Despite the aftermath of the crypto winter which lead to a series of bankruptcy filings, the FTX CEO said he believes the situation could have been worse. 


While Bitcoin plunged below $20,000 in the broader market route, Sam Bankman-Fried said the situation could have been unimaginable should the premier asset drop as low as $10,000. Acknowledging he does not calculate his net worth with the fall in price, Sam is optimistic about the prospect of the market overall.


On regulation, Sam said he is indifferent if either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) takes charge of regulating the crypto ecosystem. He noted that he has continued to play a role, including lobbying politicians in Washington to help get functional regulations into the digital currency ecosystem.


Known as the Morgan Stanley of the crypto world, Sam recently clarified how FTX has no plans whatsoever to make a bid for the Huobi exchange.

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Sam Bankman-Fried Denies FTX Has Plans to Purchase Stake in Huobi

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is a well-known figure in the digital currency ecosystem, and while his personality gained popularity as a proficient crypto trader, his investment prowess is now largely standing out.


FTX Derivatives Exchange, his flagship company positioned itself as a lender of last resort, with a focus on helping bailout companies that the crypto winter plunged into a state of distress.

Considering its robust activity in the Merger & Acquisition space, Bloomberg wrote a report, drawing on alleged anonymous sources that FTX is looking at buying a stake in Huobi. Recalled as reported earlier by Blockchain.news that Huobi’s founder and biggest shareholder, Leon Li revealed plans he was set to sell at least a 60% stake in the company to a new buyer.


The dots between the readiness to sell and the willingness to make targeted acquisitions was connected by industry observers, thus fueling the talk that SBF may be making a bid for the Chinese-born crypto exchange.


Taking to Twitter on Monday, Bankman-Fried tweeted saying:


“Just to be explicit because apparently a lot of people are saying this: No, we are not planning to acquire Huobi.”


Known as a figure that is well respected in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the words of Sam Bankman-Fried might be enough to clear off the doubts about the future of both FTX and Huobi in the near term. However, crypto users may not be surprised if both companies ink a form of partnership in the long term.


FTX has a massive interest in the embattled crypto lender, BlockFi, and the behemoth exchange firm is likely to acquire the company for as low as $15 million, after extending a $250 million credit facility earlier. Attempts by FTX to consider helping bankrupt crypto lender, the Celsius Network were thwarted by the huge gap in the bankrupt firm’s balance sheet. 


In recent times, FTX has also made a bid to Voyager Digital, but the platform’s lawyers advised against taking the deal as they maintained the notion that it favoured FTX the most.

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