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March 2022

Russian accounts frozen in Korea; China’s Two Sessions beckons

Crypto donations on the rise for Ukraine as Russian aggression continues. Meanwhile in Asia, China’s Two Session’s are set to begin – could Ukraine and crypto be a part of the agenda?

India’s blockchain courses ramp up to meet demand for learning

Recruiters from the public and private sectors are on the hunt for top blockchain talent. Educational institutions are catching up with customized courses.

Tencent calls dibs on metaverse virtual concerts in patent application

Chinese tech giant Tencent is applying for a virtual concerts patent, as conglomerates race for the first-mover advantage in the metaverse industry, business tracker Qichacha’s data shows. See related article: 16,000 metaverse trademark applications filed, unlikely to pass in China Fast facts The Shenzhen-based social and gaming giant’s patent application involves a computing approach and […]

Ukraine fundraising gathers pace; Korea’s crypto election?

Support for Ukraine in the crypto world grows as Russia’s attack continues. Meanwhile, hackers gives American tech giant an ultimatum.

Animoca Brands halts services to Russians: report

Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands has shuttered its services to Russian users saying it is relying on legal advice that equates Western sanctions against Russian entities to the blanket sanctions against North Korea, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. See related article: Binance may join sanctions imposed on Russian targets Fast facts “The legal advice we’ve been receiving […]

Metaverse NFT projects boom as Meta ignores blockchain

It’s been a booming time for the NFT market, and as data from CryptoSlam shows, there has been particular interest in metaverse projects recently.

February 2022

Binance assembles sanction task force; India seeks bitcoin clarity

Ukraine is offering Russian soldiers cash or crypto for their surrender in the ongoing attack on Ukraine. Meanwhile, Binance is working to comply with sanctions on Russia.

Who are the biggest players in the metaverse today?

The multi-faceted metaverse provides new channels for gaming, socialization, art exhibitions and more. Who’s leading the race and how?

India top court queries crypto legality over $2.6B Bitcoin scam

The Supreme Court of India has sought clarification from the government on the legality of cryptocurrencies in the country in the wake of surging Bitcoin scams, local media reported. See related article: Indian crypto scam investigated Fast facts A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati […]

Binance may join sanctions imposed on Russian targets

Binance is working to comply with sanctions on Russia imposed by Western governments following the invasion of Ukraine. See related article: Bitcoin donations for Ukraine military surpass $1M Fast facts “We have assembled a dedicated global compliance task force, including world-renowned sanctions experts, and are taking the steps necessary to ensure we take action against […]

BitMEX founders Hayes, Delo fined $10M each, plead guilty to AML violations

BitMEX founders Arthur Hayes and Benjamin Delo pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act’s anti-money-laundering provisions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said on Thursday. See related article: BitMEX pays US$100M to settle AML, KYC compliance breach charges Fast facts Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hayes and Delo will each pay US$10 […]

Russian attack hits crypto: MUFG to close blockchain venture

The crypto market tanks after Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a military operation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Japan’s biggest financial group closes it’s blockchain payment venture.

India’s crypto brain drain may accelerate once again

Government indecision on crypto regulation prompted some businesses to move abroad. Investors and crypto professionals may follow if uncertainty prolongs.

Meta showcases focus on AI, announces new voice assistant program

The brand has long centered around connecting people and seems determined to carry that branding to its next stage as a metaverse company.

Binance’s investment in Forbes is a wake-up call for the crypto industry

When the world’s biggest crypto exchange acquires a major stake in the business publication it once sued for defamation, should we worry?

BSN to integrate CasperLabs’ chain to support NFT issuance in China

CasperLabs, a smart contracts protocol, is set to power part of China’s state-backed non-fungible token (NFT) network, to support the legal issuance of NFTs in mainland China. See related article: BSN to integrate Neo’s chain to bolster NFT issuance in China Fast facts The Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) will add Casper Network-powered Fuzhou Chain to […]

Crypto losses not protected in China; India’s bitcoin premium

Chinese court reiterates its stance that the law cannot cover crypto losses. Meanwhile, Indian investors are paying double the South Korean kimchi premium.

Why India’s Bitcoin premium is now higher than South Korea’s

The RBI is casting a cloud of regulatory uncertainty over the local digital assets industry, but the nation’s Bitcoin premium shows India wants crypto. 

Alibaba to reward NFTs in its first blockchain game

Alibaba is rewarding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its first blockchain game Ant Adventure, which can be played through the Alipay mobile application, one of China’s leading mobile payment providers.  See related article: Ant Group’s NFT arm punishes users for digital collectible resales Fast facts Ant Adventure is powered by Alibaba’s blockchain AntChain, and takes users […]

Hedera gears up for smart contract upgrade, leads market rebound

Hedera’s HBAR is leading a crypto market bounce with a 14% surge over the last 24 hours to trade at US$0.2306 on the back of the HederaStarter launch announcement as the ecosystem preps for its smart contract era.  See related article: Hedera Hashgraph provides provenance for data from Syrian war Fast facts HederaStarter is slated […]

Animoca Brands, K-pop agency Cube form metaverse joint venture

Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands and K-pop agency Cube Entertainment announced on Tuesday the completion of a new joint venture named AniCube Entertainment, as Korean music labels race to cash in on their loyal fan bases through metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT) projects. See related article: K-pop agency Cube bets big on NFT and metaverse Fast […]

Ant Group’s NFT arm punishes users for digital collectible resales

Jingtan, Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s non-fungible token (NFT) platform, has placed limitations on at least 56 accounts for participating in the resale of digital collectibles, after various collections surged in popularity in online second-hand markets.  See related article: CCTV NFTs hit resale market before transfer permitted Fast facts Jingtan, developed by AntChain, said it has […]

Temasek leads $200M funding round in crypto firm Amber

Amber Group has secured US$200 million in a funding round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, raising the cryptocurrency platform’s valuation to US$3 billion.  See related story: Temasek-founded Affinidi launches new business unit to bring Web 3.0 to financial services to Southeast Asia Fast facts Existing investors including Sequoia China, Pantera Capital, Tiger Global […]

NFT credit card in the works for top S. Korean crypto exchange

Dunamu, the operator of crypto exchange Upbit, signed a memorandum of understanding with credit card company BC Card on Monday to develop a non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse-based credit card. See related article: South Korean crypto exchange acquires stake in major bank Fast facts Certain items purchased offline via the Dunamu BC Card will be […]

Korea’s KB embraces crypto; China’s NFT fever

NFTs hit resale market in China despite criticism over speculation. Meanwhile, South Korean financial giant plans crypto funds.

Cardano to close 2022 at $2.79, experts predict

Cardano is projected to skyrocket to US$58.04 by the start of the next decade, while closing 2022 at more than double its current value at US$2.79, according to Finder’s panel of 17 crypto experts.  See related article: Ethereum price expected to hit $7,609 in 2022: report Fast facts Cardano, which was trading at US$0.96 at […]

Sandcastles in cyberspace and the rise of the metaverse

As businesses wake up to the potential of the metaverse, we ask The Sandbox’s Sebastien Borget whether its creator-driven promise will persevere.

Israel added to Binance’s list of global regulatory trouble spots

Israel’s capital market watchdog is asking major cryptocurrency exchange Binance for clarifications on its services in the country and licenses under which it operates, local media reported Thursday. See related article: Binance US under probe for ties with trading affiliates: report Fast facts Binance has stopped all Israel-focused activities and marketing, the Globes reported, citing […]

Korea’s crypto unicorns; Hong Kong’s e-CNY pilot

Korea’s crypto sector spawns two unicorns, meanwhile Hong Kong is set to be an idea cross-border e-CNY test city.

Animoca Brands’ new Japan arm aims to connect fans in Web 3.0 world

Hong Kong-based blockchain unicorn Animoca Brands’ Japanese strategic subsidiary started operations on Tuesday to bridge the nation’s exclusive intellectual property (IP) with the Web 3.0 ecosystem. See related article: Animoca Brands valued at US$5B after latest fundraise Fast facts The subsidiary, Animoca Brands KK, is building a blockchain-powered platform for Japanese IP holders to launch […]

NEO gets price bump after NFT integration on BSN

The price of NEO climbed by 6.2% over the last 24 hours to US$25.13 on Thursday morning Asia time, following China-based Neo’s Tuesday announcement of its Jiuquan Chain’s integration to China’s state-backed blockchain network. See related article: BSN to integrate Neo’s chain to bolster NFT issuance in China Fast facts NEO hit a daily high […]

Two crypto exchanges reach unicorn status in South Korea

Two of South Korea’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, Upbit and Bithumb, are among the seven local businesses that achieved unicorn status last year, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) reported on Tuesday. Fast facts The nation’s top four crypto exchanges dominated 96% of total deposits in the South Korean market, while exchange GOPAX is attempting […]

How DeFi’s user interface problems are deterring widespread adoption

DeFi can put investors at risk if they don’t understand how it works, writes Korapat Arunanondchai. Here’s how to improve user experience.

Bybit to issue Oracle Red Bull’s fan tokens in $150M deal

Oracle Red Bull’s Formula 1 (F1) racing team announced on Wednesday a multi-year sponsorship deal with Singapore-based derivative exchange Bybit in what it claims to be the largest annual crypto sponsorship to date. Fast facts While the scale of the sponsorship hasn’t been disclosed officially, media accounts cited an unnamed source in reporting the deal […]

Pakistan’s crypto warning; Indian banks’ crypto reluctance

Pakistan’s State Bank governor warns crypto’s risks, also in India, banks show crypto reluctancy.

Prime time for crypto as Super Bowl ads make splash

Top blockchain and crypto news: Super Bowl score for digital asset exchanges. CryptoPunks holders face copyright conundrum. Hong Kong warns of NFT risks.

Binance rebrands blockchains for metaverse, DeFi expansions

Binance has rebranded its two blockchains as one BNB Chain on Tuesday, in a push toward the metaverse and decentralized finance (DeFi), an ecosystem the company calls “MetaFi.”  Fast facts Binance has taken its name out of its two blockchains, the Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain, which are now respectively called BNB Beacon Chain […]

RBI is causing crypto hesitancy among Indian banks

India’s crypto tax plan was expected to bolster adoption, but the central bank’s hold on the banking sector puts a check on crypto-related services.

Binance US under probe for ties with trading affiliates: report

The U.S. securities watchdog has launched a probe into crypto exchange Binance’s relationship with two trading firms with ties to founder Changpeng Zhao, the Wall Street Journal reported. Fast facts The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is examining whether Binance’s U.S. arm properly discloses to users its links to two trading firms — Sigma Chain […]

Pakistani central bank echoes RBI’s concerns over crypto

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Reza Baqir said in this year’s MASIC Annual Investment Forum that cryptocurrency risks far outweigh their benefits and threaten financial and monetary stability for developing countries. Fast facts The SBP recommended a ban on cryptocurrencies last month, with one of the nation’s largest banks quickly heeding the advice by […]

Warren Buffett invests $1B in Bitcoin-friendly Nubank

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased US$1 billion of Brazilian neobank Nubank Class A stock in Q4 2021 while selling billions of dollars of stock in Mastercard and Visa. Fast facts Buffett’s holding company dumped US$1.3 billion and US$1.8 billion from Mastercard and Visa, respectively, according to a Feb. 14 filing with the U.S. Securities and […]

BSN to integrate Neo’s chain to bolster NFT issuance in China

China’s state-backed Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) announced the addition of Neo’s Jiuquan Chain to its open permissioned blockchain ecosystem to support the legal issuance of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the mainland. Fast facts Jiuquan Chain, powered by China-based Neo, will run as one of the 10 BSN open permissioned blockchains, as part of the BSN […]

HK watchdog’s NFT warning; DBS plans crypto expansion

HK watchdog’s sends out warning calling NFT a threat, meanwhile in Singapore DBS plans a crypto expansion

Bitcoin’s 30-day performance shows it’s not just another tech stock

As Bitcoin’s price movement began to mirror that of traditional markets, some likened it to tech stocks. Its recent price action shows otherwise.

RBI calls for crypto ban in India, again

T Rabi Shankar, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, proposed an outright ban on cryptocurrencies on Monday, assuring the central bank’s position to prohibit digital assets has not changed since the 30% tax on crypto income was announced.  Fast facts Shankar said he found no merit in the […]

DBS Digital Exchange hits new high in trading value

DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx), one of Asia’s first bank-backed digital exchanges, recorded over SG$1.1 billion (US$818 million) in trading value in FY2021, the company said in a press release on Tuesday. Fast facts DDEx is currently a members-only exchange that provides corporate and institutional investors, accredited investors, and family offices that bank with DBS, access […]

Hong Kong’s Ocean Park brings virtual attractions to The Sandbox metaverse

Hong Kong’s Ocean Park announced on Monday that it is entering The Sandbox metaverse to offer virtual experiences through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and gaming, as visitors to its physical venue dropped throughout the pandemic.  Fast facts The government proposed last January that it will transform the physical theme park into a resort and leisure destination […]

Super Bowl ad blitz not enough for exchanges to top Binance sales

The aggregate sales volume of the four crypto exchanges that advertised during the Super Bowl on Monday Asia time accounted for under 60% of the world’s largest exchange Binance, which did not. Fast facts The four exchanges — Coinbase, FTX, Crypto.com and BitBuy — saw a total of US$6.75 billion in the past 24 hours […]

Peirce dissents from SEC’s US$100M BlockFi settlement

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, dubbed Crypto Mom, dissented in Monday’s US$100M BlockFi settlement, saying the punishment does not fit the crime.

India government, central bank in ‘complete harmony’ on crypto: FM

The Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are working in “complete harmony” and any decision on cryptocurrency will be made jointly, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a press conference on Monday.  Fast facts Discussions on crypto have been ongoing between the government and the RBI — India’s central bank — even […]

Bitcoin outperforms tech stocks by 12% average in last 30 days

Bitcoin has continued to outperform traditional investment vehicles with the digital asset leading over major tech stocks in the last 30 days, according to Finbold. Fast facts Bitcoin outperformed the top six tech stocks by an average return on investment (ROI) of 12.24% as of Feb. 13. Bitcoin significantly outpaced Meta by 46.74%, followed by […]

Crypto exchanges compete in Super Bowl ad blitz

Advertisements for several crypto exchanges vied for the spotlight in this year’s Super Bowl, including one for Crypto.com that aired during the showcase halftime break. Fast facts Following a widely publicized ad featuring Matt Damon, Singapore-based Crypto.com’s new ad featured basketball star LeBron James talking to his younger self in 2003 insinuating the creation and […]

RBI chief’s crypto warning; Korean crypto execs jailed

Reserve Bank of India’s chief sends crypto warning. In addition, Korean crypto execs gets jailed

North Korea refutes crypto hack allegation, claims the US made it up

North Korea’s foreign affairs ministry wrote on its website Tuesday that the U.S. is behind the claim that the socialist state hacked millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. Fast facts The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) warned that it considers the act of spreading rumors about a “non-existent” cryptocurrency theft to be a serious […]

Hackers got $602M in cryptocurrency ransom in 2021: report

Ransomware payments in crypto tallied higher than US$602 million in 2021, according to blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, with average payments recording US$118,000, or 34% higher than the 2020 average.  Fast facts

Crypto is ‘not even a tulip,’ India’s central bank chief says

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said in a press conference that cryptocurrencies have no underlying value and that they are “not even a tulip,” warning investors of its risks.  Fast facts Das’s comments come just over a week after India’s central government announced a 30% taxation plan on income from crypto assets as well […]

Will the growing regulatory heat on stablecoins stifle innovation?

As stablecoins face pressure to adopt traditional safeguards, the industry’s efforts to self-regulate should not be overlooked, writes Charlie Martin of Gro.

Binance to take $200M stake in Forbes

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, plans to take a US$200 million stake in Forbes through a private placement, making it one of the two largest shareholders of the 104-year-old business magazine. Fast facts The investment comes as Forbes seeks to go public on the New York Stock Exchange via a deal with a special […]

S.Korean gaming giant Netmarble partners with Binance for GameFi

Netmarble revealed Thursday that it has formed a strategic partnership with Binance to establish a global blockchain gaming ecosystem. Fast facts Binance will provide its blockchain platform and tech infrastructure to Netmarble. Netmarble will build a new sidechain on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) for developing GameFi and an initial game offering (IGO) on the […]

Bandai Namco plans IP metaverse; Russia’s crypto flip

Japanese gaming giant Bandai Namco plans on a metaverse with their IP meanwhile, Russia does a crypto flip.

JPMorgan predicts $150,000 Bitcoin price in the long run

American banking giant JPMorgan predicts Bitcoin’s price will approach US$150,000 in the long term, strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in an investors note cited by Bloomberg. Fast facts Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is currently trading at about US$43,830, but JPMorgan pegs its fair value at around US$38,000, about 15% lower than its current […]

E-CNY chief says digital dollar poses no threat to China

China does not expect significant impact on its monetary system if the digital dollar were introduced, said Mu Changchun, director-general of the People’s Bank of China Digital Currency Initiative on Wednesday. He spoke at a panel organized by the Atlantic Council think tank to support the release of the International Monetary Fund’s report on central […]

UN approves NFT standards proposed by Tencent, Ant Group: report

The United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications standardization, ITU-T, has approved a non-fungible token (NFT) technical framework proposed by Chinese tech giants including Tencent Holdings and Ant Group, state-owned media reported.   Fast facts The framework, which introduces an NFT standard, proposes technical and security requirements for digital collectibles on the blockchain.  The international standards approved […]

US seizes $3.6B worth of Bitcoin stolen in 2016 Bitfinex hack

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized over US$3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin linked to crypto exchange Bitfinex’s hack that occurred in 2016, as the country ramps up efforts to combat crypto crime. Fast facts The DOJ said Tuesday in a statement that it has arrested two individuals for allegedly laundering proceeds of 119,754 […]

Bybit teams up with Cabital for more fiat-to-crypto options

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Bybit has teamed up with Cabital, a Hong Kong-based crypto wealth management platform, to offer users more fiat on-ramp pathways to buy crypto. Fast facts Bybit said Tuesday in a statement that through the partnership, its users can use EUR and GBP to buy crypto on the Bybit platform and transfer crypto […]

Exchange to drop NFTs for each S.Korean medal at Beijing Olympics

Bithumb, one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, says it will distribute digital art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for traders who meet the criteria every time South Korea wins a medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Fast facts Held jointly with blockchain-based sports content platform 300FIT, the NFTs will be accessible to traders who have transacted […]

FTX to buy Asian fintech Liquid for undisclosed sum

Fresh off a US$32 billion valuation, crypto derivatives exchange FTX Trading said Wednesday it will acquire its Japanese competitor Liquid Group and all its subsidiaries. Fast facts The deal is expected to close in March, according to a Liquid release. “Following FTX’s acquisition of Liquid, Quoine will gradually integrate FTX’s products and services into its […]

Aussie mining billionaire files suit against Meta over crypto ads

Australian resources mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is taking Meta (formerly Facebook) to court alleging the social media giant breached local money-laundering laws by failing to prevent false cryptocurrency advertisements on its platform. Fast facts In legal proceedings lodged in the Western Australia Magistrates Court, Forrest alleges Meta “failed to create controls or a corporate […]

Indian crypto tax ends fears of ban as investors brace for impact

Top blockchain and crypto news: New Delhi’s crypto give and take. Malice in Wonderland? Hong Kong’s selective spot ETF rules.

India FM: RBI to issue blockchain-based digital rupee

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed at the parliament budget session on Tuesday that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue a digital rupee based on blockchain, as she proposed the issuance for financial year 2022-23. Fast facts “Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system,” the minister […]

Meta sells stablecoin Diem project for $182M

Meta (formerly Facebook)-backed stablecoin project Diem’s intellectual property and assets have been sold to cryptocurrency bank Silvergate Capital Corporation for US$182 million, both entities confirmed on Monday. Fast facts “[W]e identified a need for a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin that is regulated and highly scalable to further enable them to move money without barriers,” said Silvergate […]

FTX reaches US$32B valuation after closing $400M series C

The owner and operator of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.COM announced Monday it closed US$400 million in a Series C fundraise that now values the company at US$32 billion. Fast facts Investors participating in this round included Temasek, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global, among others. The company said all of the investors have participated in […]