1. Hong Kong’s weekly summary
1.1 Hong Kong urged to innovate and make money by Xia Baolong link
On April 16, Xia Baolong, the top leader in charge of Hong Kong in Beijing, said in Hong Kong that he hoped that Hong Kong would “hold exhibitions every day”, engage in innovation and technology, fight for the economy and make money. Hong Kong just hosted a biggest Web3 conference in recent years.
1.2 HK Bank of Communications unit works with crypto firms for account opening link
The Hong Kong unit of China’s state-owned Bank of Communications is working with multiple cryptocurrency companies licensed in the city, and is in talks with other regulated firms about opening accounts for them, according to several crypto firms.
1.3 Hong Kong court declares crypto assets are property and can be held on trust link
A Hong Kong court has for the first time declared that cryptocurrencies are property and capable of being held on trust. The confirmation that holdings of cryptocurrencies constitute “property” that is on a par with other intangible assets such as stocks and shares.
1.4 Building an Internet Computer Hub in HK: DFINITY’s Dominic Williams link
On April 19, DFINITY founder Dominic Williams announced plans for an Internet Computer Hub (probably in Cyberport), formation of the ICP Asia Alliance (things already happening), and cooperation with local venture capital to boost the incredible talent building on ICP Asia.
2. Mainland China’s weekly summary
2.1 Supreme People’s Procuratorate: strengthen forward-looking research on legal issues related to new technologies such as blockchain link
On April 18, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued opinions on strengthening the rule of law in the network by requiring forward-looking research on legal issues related to new technologies and new business models such as the “metaverse,” artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. The opinions also call for enhanced risk assessment, accurate identification of the boundary between innovation and crime, and the timely detection and punishment of crimes committed under the guise of new technologies and business models, in order to protect innovation and development and prevent various risks.
2.2 iBox under investigation for suspected fraud by police in multiple regions link
On April 21, ibox, a digital collectibles platform founded and operated by the original Huobi team, has been investigated by police in multiple regions on suspicion of fraud, including Chengmai Public Security Bureau in Hainan, Huadu District Branch of Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, and Xindu District Branch of Chengdu Public Security Bureau.
3. Singapore’s weekly summary
3.1 Crypto hearings in Singapore throw up quirks, legal novelties link
On April 16, the Business Times reported that the Singapore High Court has ruled against recognizing crypto as money in a case involving the Algorand Foundation’s application to wind up Three Arrows Capital, with a claim of 53.5m USDC. Central to the case was whether the USDC claim is considered to be a “sum of money,” which would determine if Algorand was a creditor and could proceed with its application. Algorand argued that just like crypto, foreign currencies are not legal tender, nor widely accepted or used as a medium of exchange in Singapore. However, they were recognized by Singapore law as money. The court rejected the argument and dismissed the application, but did however acknowledge that this was a novel issue and that legal frameworks for cryptocurrencies are still developing.
3.2 Crypto firm Luno to cease operations in Singapore starting June link
Global crypto company Luno has announced that it will no longer offer its services in Singapore starting June 20, 2023. All Luno accounts that belong to Singaporean customers will be closed by June 20 this year, and users will need to withdraw all their cryptocurrency or Singapore dollars from their Luno Wallet by June 19. If users fail to withdraw their crypto holdings by June 19, these will be sold at the prevailing market price and stored as Singapore dollar, and Luno’s existing instant transaction fees of 0.75% will apply.
4. Babel Finance’s weekly summary
4.1 Babel Finance officially initiates in-court reorganization procedure link
On April 17, the co-founder of Babel Finance issued an open letter stating that the bankruptcy protection of Babel Group was heard in the Singapore High Court, officially opening the in-court reorganization procedure. The focus of future work will shift to the new project HOPE.
4.2 Crypto lender Babel’s creditor protection extended in Singapore link
On April 18, a Singapore court extended creditor protection for crypto lender Babel Finance by about three months, the moratorium will now last until July 21. Deribit had raised objections to the restructuring plan.
4.3 HOPE founded by the founder of Babel Finance announces its launch link
On April 20, HOPE founded by Yang Zhou, the founder of Babel Finance, announced its launch. The initial suite of protocols and features, including HopeSwap, $HOPE Staking, and DAO, is now accessible on the Ethereum Mainnet. Distribution of $LT rewards will begin after 08:00 AM, 20th April 2023 (UTC+8).
5. OPNX’s weekly summary
5.1 OPNX launched by the founders of 3AC announces its investors link
On April 21, OPNX launched by the founders of 3AC, announced that its investors include AppWorks, SIG, DRW VC, MIAX Group, China Merchant Bank International, Token Bay Capital, Nascent and Tuwaiq Limited. Earlier, OPNX completed a financing of $25 million. Many of them are from the Greater China region.
5.2 DRW, Nascent, MIAX and SIG all deny investing in OPNX link
DRW, Nascent, MIAX and Susquehanna (SIG) have all denied investing in OPNX. On April 22, OPNX said they seek financial gain while simultaneously denying association due to fear of social media backlash.
6. UAE’s weekly summary
6.1 Bybit announces the official opening of its Dubai headquarters building link
On April 18, Bybit announced the grand opening of its global headquarters in Dubai, at One Central, Dubai World Trade Center with an open space of 16,000 square feet. Bybit said that in less than a year, the transaction volume in the Middle East and North Africa has reached 33.5 billion US dollars and it has more than 10 million users all over the world now.
6.2 UAE to accept applications from crypto companies seeking to operate in the country link
On April 18, the United Arab Emirates’ federal securities regulator started accepting applications from companies wishing to provide crypto services in the country. Currently, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is responsible for regulating the crypto industry in the country and approved a licensing regime on Monday. Companies wishing to operate in the UAE must obtain approval from both the SCA and the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).
6.3 The UAE releases proposal for a legislative framework for DLT foundations link
The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has released a proposed legal framework for foundations involving distributed ledger technology and token issuance, and is seeking public consultation. The proposal requires foundations to submit audited annual reports, recognizes the legal status of token holders, and allows for decentralized governance models, with those holding over 25% of tokens considered to have control and required to make self-declarations.
7. South Korea’s weekly summary
7.1 Korean financial regulators plan to introduce class action lawsuits for unfair trading in virtual assets link
On April 18, the South Korean financial regulator announced plans to introduce a class action lawsuit system for unfair trading practices in virtual assets, aimed at implementing punishment measures other than criminal penalties to protect investors. The Financial Services Commission believes that the inspection authority over virtual asset operators should be subject to specific financial information laws that regulate supervised entities such as casino operators.
7.2 Korbit: Expected to protect the cryptocurrency holdings of the deceased link
On April 20, Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit announced a service usage contract with Korea Credit Bureau, the first of its kind in the industry. Clients can use the “inheritance financial transaction inquiry” service to check the financial status of the deceased in financial institutions. “It is expected to protect the cryptocurrency held by the deceased and facilitate the inheritance process.”
7.3 Korean central bank to gain right to probe virtual asset entities after financial regulator drops opposition link
The Bank of Korea (BOK) is set to be granted its wish to investigate virtual assets after the country’s Financial Services Commission reportedly dropped its opposition to the central bank’s desire to gain the “right to request data submission.” Despite seemingly surrendering in its long-running fight with the central bank, the FSC will still likely gain the right to investigate virtual assets, the report revealed.
8. Do Kwon’s weekly summary
8.1 Police seize $2.2m apartment where Do Kwon hid during six-month manhunt link
Serbian police have seized the Belgrade luxury apartment where Do Kwon holed up in during a six month manhunt, according to Serbian prosecutor Branko Stamenkovic. “We have reason to suspect that the apartment was bought with the money derived from the criminal acts that are charged against him in Korea,” Stamenkovic said.
8.2 Forgery charges brought against Do Kwon in Montenegro link
On April 20, the Montenegrin prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit against Do Kwon for forgery of documents and requested an extension of the defendant’s detention period. Earlier, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that after an investigation by Interpol, Do Kwon used a forged Costa Rican travel document during passport checks on a flight to Dubai on March 23.
9. Gemini has ‘big plans’ for Asia, names regional CEO, opening India office link
On April 21, Gemini, the U.S.-based crypto exchange founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, named a new chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and is set to open its first office in India as part of its “big plans” in the region. It is reported that the India office will become Gemini’s second-largest engineering center after the United States. The news comes a month after reports that said Gemini is preparing to launch an overseas derivatives exchange to offer perpetual futures.
10. Russia may start experimenting with using cryptocurrencies for external settlements link
On April 19, Central Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said that the use of cryptocurrencies in external settlements may start as an experiment. The central bank opposes the use of cryptocurrencies domestically, but such funds can be used for external payments. A draft law in this regard is already ready.