1. Hong Kong’s Weekly Summary
1.1 Vitalik Questions the Sustainability of Hong Kong’s Cryptocurrency Friendliness link
On the 14th of September, Vitalik Buterin stated in Singapore that since the end of last year, Hong Kong has shifted towards a crypto-friendly stance. However, when setting up offices for cryptocurrency projects there, one should consider the stability of this friendliness. When asked about whether the Hong Kong government will continue to support cryptocurrencies, Vitalik expressed, ‘It’s hard for me personally to judge that question. It’s a key variable, and I think understanding it is very valuable. If they can make people believe that this friendliness is stable, then it’s in a good position. But that’s where I see the challenge.’
On the 15th of September, Hong Kong Legislative Council Member Johnny Ng Kit-chong invited Vitalik to visit Hong Kong and learn firsthand that Hong Kong operates under the ‘one country, two systems’ policy with stable policies and laws and a complete legislative process. Hong Kong has enough room to formulate its own virtual asset policies and welcomes compliant businesses from around the world to develop in Hong Kong.
1.2 Hong Kong Monetary Authority Warns Against Misrepresenting Virtual Asset Firms as ‘Banks’ link
On September 15th, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued a warning urging citizens to be cautious of virtual asset entities claiming to be ‘banks’ or describing their products as ‘deposits.’ The HKMA cautioned these entities that such actions may potentially violate the Banking Ordinance. The HKMA noted that some virtual asset entities have been referring to themselves as ‘crypto banks,’ ‘virtual asset banks,’ ‘digital asset banks,’ ‘digital banks,’ or ‘digital trading banks,’ and have claimed to provide ‘banking services’ or ‘bank accounts.’ Some virtual asset entities have also used the term ‘deposits’ to describe funds held by customers in their organizations or promoted ‘savings plans’ as ‘low-risk’ and offering ‘high returns.’ Such descriptions can be misleading. Only licensed banks, restricted license banks, and deposit-taking companies with licenses issued by the HKMA are allowed to operate banking or deposit-taking businesses in Hong Kong. Any entity operating such businesses without authorization is committing an offense.
1.3 Tai Chi Capital Announces Hong Kong’s First Real Estate Fund Security Token Offering (STO) link
On September 11th, according to Sing Pao, Taichi Capital announced today the launch of Hong Kong’s first real estate fund security token offering (STO). This STO is based on a closed-end fund issued by its subsidiary, Pioneer Asset Management, and is targeted at professional investors. The goal is to raise approximately HKD 100 million. If regulatory approval is obtained, there are plans to list the tokens on its virtual asset trading platform, HKbitEX, in the future, allowing for 24-hour secondary market trading to reduce financing costs.
2. South Korea to Launch Three-Month Probe into Officials’ Cryptocurrency Holdings link
On September 12th, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of South Korea announced that it will begin an investigation into the virtual asset (cryptocurrency) transactions and holdings of members of parliament starting from September 18th, lasting for three months. The special investigation team will be staffed with approximately 30 professional investigators. According to a request from the parliament, the establishment of the ‘Parliament Members’ Virtual Asset Special Investigation Team’ aims to comprehensively investigate the acquisition, transactions, and losses of virtual assets by members of the 21st parliament.
3. Japanese Government to Ease Regulatory Oversight on Startup Financing link
On September 15th, according to the Nikkei, the Japanese government is set to ease regulations on financing for startups. Startups, when receiving funding from investment funds, will have the option to pay with cryptocurrencies, not limited to stocks and other assets. These new regulations apply to funds invested in Limited Partnership Enterprises (LPS).
4. India to Determine Its Cryptocurrency Stance in the Coming Months link
On September 11th, according to Coindesk, a senior official from the Indian Ministry of Finance stated on Sunday that India will decide its stance on cryptocurrencies in the coming months. As the G20 has formulated a framework for assessing crypto risks, India will analyze the consensus reached by global leaders to determine the appropriate policy for India.
5. Singapore MAS Issues Nine-Year Ban to Three Arrows Capital Founders, Zhu Su and Kyle Livingston Davies link
On September 14th, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a nine-year prohibition order to the founder of Three Arrows Capital, Zhu Su, and Kyle Livingston Davies. They will be prohibited from engaging in any regulated activities and participating in the management of any capital; this includes not promptly notifying MAS of hiring arrangements (employing Cheong Jun Yoong Arthur as a portfolio manager), providing false information to MAS, and failing to establish an appropriate risk management framework.
6. The Mainland of China’s Weekly Summary
6.1 PengPai Shucang Officially Ceases Operations on September 17th link
On September 16th, PengPai·Shucang recently issued a suspension notice. The notice stated that due to adjustments in the related business of Shucang, the PengPai Shuzang channel within Haibei Mall will officially cease operations starting from September 17, 2023. Digital collectibles, as an emerging field, still have a certain level of uncertainty and risk, and the operational costs are relatively high. Therefore, the platform has decided to suspend the sale of digital collectibles from today onwards. The transfer function and the new user registration channel will also be closed. Previously issued digital collectibles will undergo corresponding refund procedures.
6.2 Three Men Sentenced for Organizing and Leading Pyramid Scheme Involving ‘Qiya — Plant Grass’ App link
On September 15th, according to the public account of Weihui City People’s Court in Henan Province, the court recently issued a judgment on a case involving the organization and leadership of pyramid scheme activities related to the ‘Qiya Plant Grass’ app. In April-May 2021, three defendants, Ma, Wang, and Pan, used the app to conduct large-scale pyramid scheme activities, involving a substantial amount of funds, under the guise of ‘purchasing mining machines for coin production.’ Their core marketing strategy was to recruit ‘members’ and exchange USDT on platforms such as ‘Binance’ and ‘Huobi,’ or directly recharge and purchase ‘mining machines’ on the platform. These ‘mining machines’ had a lifespan of 3 years, but after the contract expired, members could not recover their principal and could only receive coin production returns from the ‘mining machines.’ The three defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six years and ten months to four years and two months, along with fines.
7. JPEX Withdrawal Fees Soar to 980 USDT, Singapore Exhibition Booth Left Vacant link
On September 14th, JPEX issued a response and special announcement regarding the statement from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). They stated that they have adjusted the withdrawal fee for USDT and have formed a special task force to make adjustments for future developments while waiting for further guidance from the SFC. According to Wu Shuo’s test, the withdrawal limit for new registered users of JPEX for USDT was 1000 USDT, and the withdrawal fee was 999 USDT in the afternoon. It has now been adjusted to 980 USDT. The Hong Kong SFC responded to media inquiries, stating that they have referred the matter to the police for follow-up.Former celebrity endorsers and promoters for JPEX include Hong Kong actor Julian Cheung (served as the brand ambassador and representative for JPEX in the Hong Kong region), Taiwanese singer Nine Chen (acted as a JPEX endorser), Hong Kong model Jacquelin Ch’ng Se Min (promoted JPEX on YouTube), Hong Kong internet sensation ‘Coin Lord’ Huang Zhejie, and Hong Kong internet personality Joseph Lam Chok. Media outlets in Hong Kong and Taiwan such as blocktempo and Juheng Net have also extensively published JPEX advertisements, but they are currently urgently removing them.
On September 16th, according to a report by Ming Pao, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Raymond Siu Chak-yee commented on the suspected regulatory violations and operations of JPEX in Hong Kong. Following allegations of fraudulent activities, the Commercial Crime Bureau is currently investigating the matter. As of yesterday afternoon at 3 pm, 83 people had reported cases related to this, involving approximately HKD 34 million.
8. KBank Launches $100 Million Fund to Invest in AI and Web3 Solutions link
On September 13th, according to Tech in Asia, KBank’s innovation arm, Kasikorn X (KX), has launched a $100 million fund called KXVC. This fund will invest in artificial intelligence and Web3 solutions focused on financial services. KXVC will also provide founders with opportunities to access Kasikorn Bank’s corporate resources, as well as its network of SMEs and consumers. KX’s recent investments include participating in a $5 million seed funding round for the blockchain startup Forward.
9. Circle Partners with Southeast Asia’s Largest Ride-Hailing App, Grab link
On September 14th, Circle partnered with Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing app, Grab, to integrate Circle’s new Web3 service platform into the Grab app, supporting its new Web3 wallet experience. Singaporean users can use the Grab Web3 Wallet to set up blockchain-enabled wallets, earn rewards and collectibles, and use NFT vouchers. The collaboration between Circle and Grab is being introduced as a pilot under the SG Pitstop Pack, aimed at supporting the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Orchid initiative, serving as a real-world demonstration of usage-linked currencies. Prior to this, Grab had added Web3 wallets in the Singapore region.
10. Exclusive: Former Huobi Employee Sets Up Trojan to Steal Private Keys, Security Incident Occurs in iToken link
On September 16th, Wu Shuo exclusively learned that due to a former employee setting up a Trojan horse, some users of iToken (formerly Huobi Wallet) have had their mnemonic phrases or private keys leaked. According to user feedback, this week the iToken system alerted users to security risks in some wallet addresses. Asset protection was carried out by a security organization submitted by Refundyourcoins to transfer funds from some user addresses to secure addresses. Refundyourcoins will launch a retrieval function to facilitate the recovery of assets, involving four chains: BTC, ETH, TRX, and XRP.
HTX responded to Wu Shuo, stating that it is unrelated to Huobi HTX. The setting up of a Trojan horse by former Huobi employees to steal other people’s mnemonic phrases and private keys prior to the acquisition is currently under investigation. HTX will actively cooperate in combating this criminal activity.