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Cash for CBDCs at Beijing ATMs; Asia sees new unicorn in Amber Group | The Daily Forkast

CBDC ATMs appear around Beijing and Hong Kong-based Amber Group is Asia’s billion dollar unicorn after raising US$100 million in its Series B.

More than 3000 ATMs from ICBC, AgBank in China to offer CBDC-to-cash swap.

‘Crypto king’ nabbed in India as government re-evaluates regulatory bill.

HK-based Amber Group becomes Asia’s latest unicorn after raising funds.

More on that story and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world in this episode of The Daily Forkast.

Transcript

Welcome to The Daily Forkast, June 21st, 2021. I’m Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.

Coming up, CBDC in exchange for cash at ATMs in Beijing, a new unicorn is born in Hong Kong and India’s “Crypto King” is busted. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

In China, the race to roll out the digital yuan is taking a new turn. China’s state-owned banks, ICBC, the world’s largest bank by total assets, by the way, along with the Agricultural Bank of China, are both looking to introduce the option of swapping CBDC for physical cash at their ATMs.

That’s according to state media, which reported this weekend, that this new feature will be available at 3000 ICBC ATMs and 10 AgBank machines across Beijing. Now, China is currently in the midst of conducting trials of digital yuan rollouts with a broader focus on having it ready in time for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.

If the trial of these ATMs proved successful, it could potentially lay the groundwork for foreigners visiting China during the Olympics to transfer their own local currency into the digital yuan.

Let’s take a look at how crypto’s OG is doing today — of course, we’re talking about Bitcoin — down just under 7.5%, closing the day at around US$33,000 at the end of the Asian trading day at 4:00 p.m. local Hong Kong time. And in the top ten for crypto currencies, another day of red across the board.

In India, police ensnare an alleged drug kingpin who may have used popular crypto exchanges in the country. India’s Narcotics Control Bureau has arrested a man known as the “Crypto King” over allegedly using Bitcoin to finance his illegal drugs network on the Dark Web.

According to the NCB, the suspect held multiple accounts across some of India’s crypto exchanges like WazirX. Now, WazirX denies such customer exists on its platform.

Money laundering, terrorist financing — looks like that point goes to the nation’s central bank, the RBI, and lawmakers that have pushed for a ban on private cryptocurrencies. Local reports, meanwhile, suggest that regulators are taking another look at important sections of the cryptocurrency and regulation of official digital currency bill.

“I strongly believe that this was a very necessary action that the government had to take because they cannot go with something such outdated. And the crypto industry actually runs at a much faster than like how we see the rest of the industries. So, three years of delay in implementing the bill is maybe like a 10 years lag in other industries.”

India’s next parliamentary session — Monsoon Session — is coming up in July. The industry will have its eyes on how and if the proposed crypto ban will be discussed in parliament.

And finally, this — another unicorn has been born in Asia. Hong Kong-based crypto trading and tech firm Amber Group has announced that it has successfully raised US$100 million in a Series B. This latest injection, led by China Renaissance, a Beijing-based investment banking company, takes the company’s valuation to US$1 billion. The funding comes as the company broadens its operations to bring more crypto finance offerings to other regions, even during this recent period of market volatility.

“Crypto is still very early. It still has a lot of upside potential. I really don’t mind, at least, this kind of sideway or even soft market to continue to for another half year or so. I think it might actually give us and the industry a bit more time to really innovate.”

Crypto’s latest volatility might be a silver lining, says Wu, allowing new investors to enter a market that’s more tempered. That’s unicorn speak for it being better for the long term.

And that’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau. Until the next time.