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Hong Kong crypto crime surges; Tencent launches NFT platform

Hong Kong crypto crime surges as Tencent launches NFT platform.

Crypto-related crimes surge to record levels in Hong Kong.

Australia’s Afterpay to be acquired by Square.

Chinese tech giant Tencent launches NFT platform.

We’ll have more on that story — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, August 3rd.

Transcript

Welcome to The Daily Forkast, August 3rd, 2021. I'm Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News.

Coming up, crypto related crimes surged to a record level in Hong Kong.
Australia's "buy now, pay later" platform Afterpay to be acquired by Square;
and Chinese tech giant, Tencent has launched an NFT platform.

Let's get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

First up, crypto related crimes have surged to a record level in Hong Kong.

Almost 500 cryptocurrency crime cases were recorded in the first six months of this year, with one victim losing a staggering US$16 million. Total losses from the 496 recorded cases were HKD$ 214 million, or around US$ 27.5 million.

The number of cases this year has already exceeded the cases reported for the whole of 2020, with total losses almost doubling so far.

The Hong Kong police attributed the rise in cases to the growing popularity of crypto investing in Hong Kong, as well as the fact that people have been spending more time online during the pandemic, which has given scammers more opportunities to pounce.

Money laundering, investment scams and robberies and face to face transactions are the three most commonly reported crimes.

But Hong Kong is not the only place to be suffering; crypto crimes are generally on the rise in other parts of the world too. With reported cases in the US rising on average 300% year on year between 2017 - 2020.

Meanwhile, global payments giant Square is putting up the big bucks to pick up Australia's Afterpay.

Square has agreed to purchase the Australian fin-tech company for US$ 29 billion. The deal will allow Square's CashApp mobile payment service and its seller business unit to offer "buy now, pay later" services by integrating Afterpay's functionality into their own systems.

In return, Afterpay users will be able to benefit from using CashApps tools including the option to make Bitcoin purchases.

Afterpay's "buy now, pay later" services, better known as installment loans, allow consumers to pay off purchases in smaller amounts with participating merchants or better known in America, the layaway plan.

The deal comes shortly after Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced the creation of an as yet unnamed new division dedicated to decentralized finance using Bitcoin earlier this month.

And onto the markets now, Bitcoin down almost 4% at a little over US$ 38,500 as of 4 p.m. local Hong Kong time today.

The end of a down day generally of trading in markets across Asia, with investors cautious over the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant. Though, Hong Kong, starting August 9th, is opening back up to vaccinated tourists and easing up of some of the strictest covid border controls in the world.

And in the top 10 for crypto currencies PolkaDot down almost 6% and XRP down 5.5%. This is a pullback after a general rise of top altcoin over the past few days.

And finally, Chinese tech giant Tencent has joined the NFT bandwagon.

Tencent has launched an NFT trading platform called "Huanhe" using its Zhi Xin chain.

Its debut sale features 300 audio NTFs based on a well-known talk show called "Shisanyao", they will be sold for 18 yuan, or almost US$ 3 each.

Hong Kong based crypto financial services company Amber Group told Forkast.News that amid the crackdown on crypto trading and mining, NTFs are an interesting option for Chinese businesses, amidst a more relaxed attitude from China herself.

"I think people are looking to to the next thing, and I think NFT itself is not ICOs, it's not crypto pump-and-dump, so to speak. So I think the government's regulators attitudes is more friendly. So, yeah, I think maybe within China there's going to be a next hype that jumps into NFTs as well"

Indeed, Tencent isn't the first Chinese tech giant to try NFT sales. Remember back in June when we told you about Alibaba affiliate Alipay selling 32,000 pieces of NFT art in just 24 hours?

Well, seems like the appetite for NFTs in China is only getting more voracious.

And that is 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.

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