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Meitu to lose big on BTC investments; SK banks warned over crypto laws

Chinese tech giant forecasts a US$17.3 million loss in its BTC investment as more musicians in Asia lean towards NFTs.

Tech giant Meitu foresees a US$17.3 million loss in its Bitcoin investment.

South Korea’s FSC tells banks they’re responsible for ensuring verifying crypto exchange contracts.

With the launch of K-pop star Se7en’s latest NFTs, we look at why musicians are going big on this tech.

We’ll have more on these stories — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, July 7.


Welcome to The Daily Forkast, July 7th, 2021. I’m Angie Lau Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.

Coming up, Chinese tech giant Meitu expects a Bitcoin blow to its bottom line, South Korea issued another stern warning to banks seeking immunity for new crypto regulations, and a look at how and why the music world is going big on NFTs. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

Chinese technology giant Meitu, most famous for its beauty selfie apps, has no beauty filter for this one. It’s expected to have a US$17.3 million loss in its Bitcoin investment. That’s according to a recent announcement by the firm to investors.

Famous for its Photoshop app and filters, the Hong Kong-listed company acquired 31,000 units of Ether and about 941 units of Bitcoin earlier this year. It was the first major Hong Kong-listed company to invest in cryptocurrency directly. But right now, it’s only a loss on paper.

The group said it has “no plan to sell nor acquire more crypto in the near future” and believes cryptocurrencies have ample room for appreciation in value over the long term.

All right. A quick look at the markets now. Bitcoin dipped seven tenths of a percent by the end of the trading day here in Hong Kong, closing at over US$34,700 by 4 p.m. local Hong Kong time at the end of the Asian trading day. And in the top 10 for cryptocurrencies, it was another mixed day of trading. Some of the top performers, though, included Polkadot and Ethereum. News of the upcoming London hard fork for Ethereum no doubt driving sentiment. It ended the day, up 2.6%, while Polkadot climbed 5.5%.

In South Korea, tension continues to intensify between banks and the Financial Services Commission over new regulatory changes. The FSC chairman has harshly criticized banks again over requests for exemption from anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing responsibilities in their contracts with crypto exchanges.

This time, though, he’s asked the banks not suggest that the FSC is shifting the responsibility of verifying these exchanges to the banks themselves when “that is the job of the bank.”

Industry experts expect only a few exchanges to survive in South Korea, since those unable to obtain the bank contract will be forced to shut down after September 24th.

Professor Kim Seung-joo does not think, though, that’s necessarily a bad thing.

“Instead of having the market filled with scam-like tokens with lacking technology, it is necessary that only the quality cryptos survive and have market reconstructed. We will also see crypto exchanges deconstructed and reorganized. Then, I think the crypto market in Korea will move in a more positive direction.”

It seems that the FSC has made an unyielding decision to have the crypto markets reorganized, even if it does mean more than 50 exchanges disappear all at once. And finally, before we go, K-pop adding a new acronym to its ranks — NFTs. Another performer has joined the growing camp of musicians and entertainers launching their own NFTs. This time it’s K-pop star Se7en, who’s released his first single after nearly two and a half years in the form of — you guessed it — an NFT.

But why is the K-pop music industry been embracing NFTs so readily? One artist says it’s because earning money in the music biz has become increasingly difficult, especially in China. It’s part of a global issue being faced by the industry. But as far as the Chinese music industry is concerned, Hong Kong-based singer and songwriter Tan Hanjin told Forkast.News NFTs could be a solution to the income problem.

“It seems to me that NFTs is a way to sustainably allow musicians to find their own patron-musician relationships, find their own patrons. So that you’re no longer relying on the 1,000 fans model. The 1,000 fans model has failed, just like how the streaming model is not working, the MP3 model failed, the CD model failed.”

Tan is already running tests on how artists can work with NFTs in a bid to raise the income floor for musicians. And that’s probably going to be music to many ears, especially fans or “stans” who want to support their favorite stars.

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.

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An unmissable weekly round up of the biggest stories in emerging tech from an Asian perspective, featuring commentary from Forkast Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau. Check out recent editions.