Hong Kong’s Crypto Rise: Harbinger for China?

Eastern Asia has seen its cryptocurrency market dynamics shift significantly, with a notable decline in crypto activity over recent years, primarily attributed to China’s restrictive stance. However, a wind of change may be blowing from Hong Kong, as the region experiences a surge in crypto-related initiatives and regulatory friendliness, igniting speculations regarding China’s evolving digital asset outlook, according to Chainalysis.

The Eastern Asia Crypto Landscape: An Overview

Eastern Asia, accounting for 8.8% of the global cryptocurrency activity from July 2022 to June 2023, has historically been a significant player in the crypto arena, largely driven by China’s previously bustling crypto trading and mining sectors. Despite the drop in activity, the region still holds a considerable share in the global crypto market, albeit less driven by institutional activity compared to larger markets. The region has displayed a higher inclination towards Decentralized Finance (DeFi) than similarly sized markets like MENA and Latin America.

Hong Kong: The Rising Crypto Hub

Hong Kong has emerged as a potential harbinger of crypto rejuvenation in the region, especially with its burgeoning status as a crypto hub. With an impressive $64.0 billion in crypto received between July 2022 and June 2023, Hong Kong’s activity isn’t far behind China’s $86.4 billion, a noteworthy feat given the vast population difference. The city’s lively Over-The-Counter (OTC) market, facilitating large, private transfers for institutional investors and high net worth individuals, has been a major driver of this crypto influx.

Institutional and Retail Dynamics

The crypto scene in Eastern Asia portrays a mixed bag of institutional and retail dynamics across different countries. For instance, South Korea’s crypto market appears to be the least institutional-driven due to stringent local regulations, whereas Japan aligns closely with global averages concerning retail versus institutional transaction breakdown. Unlike South Korea, Hong Kong sees a considerable share of its transaction volume from large institutional transactions, a characteristic that sets it apart from other countries in the region.

Crypto Platform Preferences: A Regional Perspective

A closer look at the most-used crypto platform types unveils intriguing regional trends. While Japan reflects a balanced activity between centralized exchanges and DeFi protocols, South Korea leans heavily towards centralized exchanges. The aftermath of TerraLuna’s misfortune and the subsequent regulatory revisions could have bolstered South Koreans’ trust in centralized exchanges. In contrast, China and Hong Kong exhibit unique crypto platform dynamics, with a significant amount of activity presumed to occur through OTCs or grey market peer-to-peer channels.

Decoding Hong Kong’s Crypto Surge: Implications for China

The speculation surrounding China’s warming stance towards cryptocurrency is further fueled by recent developments in Hong Kong. The Special Administrative Region has not only been fostering a conducive environment for crypto trading but also witnessed state-owned Chinese entities launching crypto-centric investment ventures. The burgeoning crypto market in Hong Kong, coupled with China’s indirect support towards Hong Kong’s digital asset initiatives, might hint at an exploratory approach by the Chinese government towards understanding digital assets better, without having to alter mainland policies drastically.

Hong Kong’s Progressive Steps Towards Web3 Adoption

Cyberport, a digital community in Hong Kong, emphasized the power of Web3 in the entertainment sector during a three-day annual event, showcasing local enterprises leveraging Web3 technology.

HKD 50 million was allocated to Cyberport to foster a thriving Web3 ecosystem, attracting businesses and talent, and organizing related educational and promotional events.

Hong Kong began tokenizing green bonds as part of its green finance initiatives, showcasing financial innovation.

The establishment of the “Task Force on Promoting Web3 Development” on June 30th, 2023, led by Financial Secretary Paul Chan, aims to promote the sustainable and responsible development of Web3 in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s crypto uptrend and regulatory receptiveness could potentially be harbingers of China’s cautious yet evolving stance towards digital assets. While the exact implications for China remain veiled, Hong Kong’s thriving crypto market is undeniably reshaping the regional crypto narrative, possibly laying down a framework for broader digital asset acceptance in the near future.


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Coinbase Secures Major Payment Institution License from Singapore’s Monetary Authority

Coinbase Singapore announced on October 1, 2023, that it has obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This license follows the company’s initial “In Principle Approval” and signifies Coinbase’s commitment to the Singaporean market. The license allows Coinbase to expand its digital payment token services to both individuals and institutions in the country.

Coinbase is not the first company to secure an MPI license from MAS. In early June, Circle announced its receipt of an MPI license, followed by Blockchain.com, which made its announcement on August 7 after receiving the license on August 1. Crypto.com also joined the ranks on June 1. These companies are authorized to provide digital payment token services to institutional and accredited investors in Singapore, highlighting the competitive and regulated landscape of the crypto market in the city-state.

Singapore has emerged as a significant player in the crypto and Web3 space. According to surveys, 25% of Singaporeans view cryptocurrency as the future of finance, and 32% are either current or past crypto owners. The city-state is also home to over 700 Web3 companies, making it a crucial market for the growth of the crypto and Web3 economy.

Coinbase has been proactive in tailoring its offerings to the Singaporean market. Earlier this year, the company introduced convenient funding options like PayNow and FAST bank transfers. It also integrated SingPass, Singapore’s trusted digital identity system, to streamline the onboarding process. Additionally, Coinbase introduced no-fee purchases of USDC with Singapore Dollars (SGD).

Coinbase has also been active in forming partnerships and making investments in the region. The company has collaborated with local developer communities and key partners like Nansen.ai, Blockdaemon, and Infura. Over 15 of Coinbase’s investments through Coinbase Ventures are rooted in Singapore. The company has also been involved in training and hiring initiatives at its Singapore tech hub.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is a significant regulatory partner for Coinbase. The newly acquired license is not just an approval but represents a shared commitment between Coinbase and MAS to support and grow the local crypto and Web3 community.

Coinbase’s acquisition of the MPI license from MAS is a significant development that underscores the company’s strategic focus on Singapore as a vital market. It also reflects the broader trend of international markets crafting innovative policies to emerge as crypto hubs. With this license, Coinbase not only validates its operations but also takes on a promise and responsibility to the growing crypto and Web3 community in Singapore. The license places Coinbase in a competitive but regulated landscape, alongside other key players like Circle, Blockchain.com, and Crypto.com, further emphasizing the importance of regulatory compliance in the rapidly evolving crypto market.

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BNB Chain and MetaMask Resolve Glitch Affecting opBNB Gas Fees

Key Takeaways

BNB Chain and MetaMask have resolved a glitch that made opBNB’s gas fees appear unusually high.

The issue was due to MetaMask’s default minimum recommendation price for gas, which was not aligned with opBNB’s lower gas fees.

The corrected algorithm now accurately reflects opBNB’s lower gas fees, offering users fast, cheap, and secure transactions.

The Glitch Explained

MetaMask had initially set a default minimum recommendation price for gas based on the average of all networks. While this approach generally works for most Layer 1 (L1) and Layer 2 (L2) networks, it did not align with the gas price structure of opBNB. As a result, users were under the impression that opBNB was more expensive or slower than it actually is.

Collaboration for a Solution

BNB Chain reached out to MetaMask to address the issue. MetaMask was “extremely helpful and agreed to update their algorithm to accurately reflect the true opBNB gas price,” according to BNB Chain’s official statement. This collaborative effort led to an immediate solution, ensuring that the gas fees displayed are now in line with what opBNB actually charges.

Verifying the Fix

Users can verify the corrected gas fees by switching to the opBNB network on MetaMask and comparing the gas fee with other networks. The update aims to provide a more accurate representation of opBNB’s competitive advantage in terms of lower gas fees, especially when the network is not congested.

Implications for the Web3 Ecosystem

The resolution of this glitch is a significant step towards building a more robust and user-friendly Web3 ecosystem. It not only saves users money, time, and energy but also supports a decentralized and scalable blockchain.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.

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HK SFC Details JPEX Probe; CEO Affirms Hong Kong’s Web3 Commitment

Key Takeaways

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has provided details on its investigation into the unlicensed virtual asset trading platform JPEX.

Over 2,000 people have reported being defrauded by JPEX, involving more than HKD 1.4 billion.

SFC CEO Leung Fung-yee emphasizes that the incident will not change Hong Kong’s direction in developing a Web3 ecosystem.

Background and Investigation Timeline

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has shed light on its investigation into JPEX, an unlicensed virtual asset trading platform accused of fraud. The platform has received complaints from over 2,000 individuals, involving assets exceeding HKD 1.4 billion. The SFC began monitoring JPEX in early 2022, suspecting false claims on its website and advertisements. By July 2022, the platform was put on a watchlist due to its evasive responses. Formal investigations were initiated in June 2023, leading to an official warning issued on September 13, 2023.

Regulatory Stance

SFC CEO Leung Fung-yee stated that the incident underscores the importance of regulation. She emphasized that Hong Kong’s commitment to developing a Web3 ecosystem remains unchanged. “If there is no regulatory system, investors cannot identify which platforms are relatively safe and reliable,” Leung added.

Ongoing Police Investigation

When asked about the possibility of halting or collaborating with overseas financial regulators to block JPEX’s asset transfers, Christopher Wilson, Executive Director of the Regulatory Enforcement Department, said that the police are currently leading the related investigation and declined to disclose further details.

Transition Period Concerns

Regarding the 12-month transition period for virtual asset platforms to comply with new regulations, Huang Lexin, head of the SFC’s fintech group, said that the arrangement is to give platforms operating in Hong Kong reasonable time to apply for licenses and meet regulatory requirements.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.

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CoinFund Secures $158M for Seed IV Fund, Surpassing Initial Goal

According to Blockchain.News, CoinFund has successfully raised $158 million for its Seed IV Fund, exceeding its initial target of $125 million. This achievement underscores the firm’s commitment to fostering innovation in the web3 ecosystem.

CoinFund, a leading cryptonative investment firm, has been making waves in the industry since its inception in 2015. The firm was founded by Jake Brukhman, a former Highbridge Capital Management and Amazon employee, and later joined by Alex Felix, an American Capital alum. Today, CoinFund boasts a global team of nearly 30 individuals and has made over 100 investments across six investment vehicles.

The Seed IV fund is designed to support early-stage investments in innovative teams developing web3 technologies. CoinFund’s CEO, Jake Brukhman, expressed his optimism about the firm’s future, stating, “Over the last two years, we’ve built a truly institutional-grade firm, the model of a large professional manager in web3.”

CoinFund’s recent investments include Cloudburst Technologies, a company specializing in cyberthreat intelligence for digital currency fraud, Gensyn, an ML compute protocol, Giza, an AI platform for smart contracts and web3 protocols, and Robert Leshner’s Superstate, which is developing blockchain-based financial products.

The firm also recently announced the composite ether staking rate (CESR) in collaboration with CoinDesk Indices. CESR is a global floating rate benchmark derived from the daily transaction fees and staking rewards from the Ethereum Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain. This initiative showcases CoinFund’s continued support for the growth and maturity of web3 and its mainstream convergence.

As CoinFund continues to grow, it remains committed to its mission: “CoinFund champions the leaders of the new internet – powered by foresight as active investors to achieve extraordinary results.” This mission statement reflects the firm’s dedication to supporting the leaders of the new internet and achieving extraordinary results through active investment.

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Huobi and Gala Games Form Partnership for Web3 Development

Huobi Global, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, has announced a strategic partnership with Gala Games, a blockchain-based play-to-earn gaming platform. The partnership was announced on March 31 in an official blog post by Huobi, which stated that the two companies would work together to develop the Web3 ecosystem.

The collaboration between Huobi and Gala Games will involve investment in and listing of projects within the Gala ecosystem. Gala Games enables developers to create play-to-earn crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) games that allow players to buy and sell in-game items. These in-game items are owned by the players and cannot be modified or deleted by developers without their consent.

The partnership between Huobi and Gala Games is expected to enhance Huobi’s Web3 objectives by allowing it to integrate with Gala’s layer-1 blockchain. This integration will help to improve the underlying on-chain technology, as stated by Jason Brink, the President of Blockchain at Gala Games. He emphasized that integrating its layer-1 blockchain with major exchanges like Huobi is crucial for achieving the desired level of mass adoption.

Huobi has also announced its plans to expand its services in other regions by launching a Visa-backed crypto-to-fiat debit card. This card will be available to Huobi customers residing in the European Economic Area, and is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2023.

The collaboration between Huobi and Gala Games has been well-received by the cryptocurrency community, with many expressing their support for the advantages of the layer-1 blockchain. This partnership is expected to create new opportunities for both companies, as they work together to develop the Web3 ecosystem.

In addition to the partnership with Gala Games, Huobi Global is also pursuing a license in Hong Kong to cater to retail clients. This move comes in light of new regulatory measures being considered by the Chinese special administrative region. With its ongoing efforts to expand its services globally, Huobi is well-positioned to become a major player in the cryptocurrency industry.


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