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Professor jailed for crypto scam; Cryptopunks trading volume soars

Professor jailed for crypto scam while Cryptopunks trading volume soars

South Korean professor and presidential campaign advisor jailed over crypto scam.

Philippines says Axie Infinity earnings subject to tax.

And Cryptopunks NFT trading volume soars. 

We’ll have more on those stories — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, August 24th.


Welcome to The Daily Forkast, August 24th 2021. I am Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News.

Coming up, a former campaign adviser to South Korea’s current president has been jailed over a crypto scam; The Philippines says Axie Infinity earnings are subject to tax; and trading volume for cryptopunks’ NFTs soars to new heights.

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

First up, a South Korean professor has been jailed for two years over a crypto scam that cost victims close to US$20 million.

He was found guilty on fraud charges for falsely promoting an underdeveloped cryptocurrency named “Coal-coin” that he shilled back in 2017.

It’s also been revealed that around that time, the professor was also part of the current South Korean president, Moon Jae-In’s winning presidential campaign.

It’s shaking up the halls of power. Forkast.News Danny Park has more.

Seoul Central District Court revealed on Monday that the former dean of a public university was sentenced on August 13th.

The professor gave several talks in 2017 promoting “Coal-coin”, sharing false information, suggesting the coin’s price would grow 100x in the near future and saying it was certified by the Bank of Korea and the Financial Supervisory Service.

Around 5000 fell victim to the scam, losing over US$18 million.

Coal-coins’s two CEOs were prosecuted last year, with one serving jail time right now.

The professor still denies the charges, claiming the talks were purely from academic interest with no intention to gather investments. He has already appeal the ruling.

Many commented online that the sentence was too light with one user saying, “it’s amazing how he only got two years, that’s why Korea’s a haven for financial criminals.”

2017 was a pivotal year for initial coin offerings, with many Korean ventures announcing their own cryptocurrency as a mode of funding.

Unsurprisingly, some, like “Coal-coin”, proved to be scams. Four years later, Korea is close to having complete control over the crypto industry, with regulations on exchanges coming in full effect from September 24th.

For Forkast.News, I’m Danny Park.

Meanwhile, a new saying is emerging in crypto – if you can’t beat them, tax them.

In the Philippines, tax authorities have turned their attention to focus on play-to-earn gaming. Specifically, Axie Infinity, it’s massively popular in the country, with some gamers in the Philippines actually making a decent income from it. But now the government says earnings from playing such games are subject to income tax.

So what does this mean for the future of crypto earning potential in a country that has economically gone backwards since Covid?

Forkast.News Monika Ghosh has the details.

According to a report by the Manila Bulletin, the Philippines’ Finance Under-secretary Antonette C Tionko says users of play-to-earn platforms are required to report their earnings for taxation.

And the government is looking closely at Axie Infinity specifically, as it is not registered in the country.

Axie Infinity was developed by Vietnam based studios Sky Mavis, making it a non-resident foreign corporation in the Philippines.

Key to what sort of tax is due depends on whether Axies are defined as a currency or a security. That’s something that’s yet to be determined by the Securities and Exchange Commission and The Central Bank.

A gamer named “Porky” who made US$20,000 from Axie Infinity last month, told Forkast.News that while he will pay taxes if the law says so, the government should have clear implementation and guidelines.

Nearly 40% of all Axie Infinity users live in the Philippines. And while the minimum monthly wage in the country is US$170, some like “Porky” make hundreds or even thousands by playing. But taxation could be a big hit for those who rely on the income to put food on the table or to buy medicines.

For Forkast.News, I am Monika Ghosh.

And finally today, Cryptopunks are raging, its trading volume has gone through the roof.

As you may already know, Cryptopunks are pixel style NFT artworks of misfits and eccentrics created by Larva Labs.

And according to data from Dappradar, trading volume increased over a 1000% in the 24 hours up to the beginning of the Asian trading day on Tuesday.

The buying frenzy was kicked off by the announcement that financial services giant Visa bought Cryptopunk number 7610 for 49.5 ether or around US$150,000.

So why would Visa make such a purchase?

Well, on their website, they say they’re looking for partnerships in the NFT field and that quote, “this is just the beginning of their work in this space”.

It’s not the only place where NFT sales are skyrocketing. Nope.
Just last month, Openseas’ marketplace saw a leap of over 100% in its monthly transaction volume, which hit US$325 million. According to data from Dappradar, it has soared since then, with the last 30 days seeing a transaction volume of almost get this one point eight billion U.S. dollars. That’s an increase of around 550%.

Seems like NFT markets could be set for a wild ride ahead with more and more joining every day.

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.