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South Korea’s Upbit sued for patent violation, Alipay launches NFT platform | The Daily Forkast

Another legal challenge faces cryptocurrency exchange Upbit. In China, Ant Group is getting into the NFT game — through Alipay.

South Korea’s biggest crypto exchange Upbit faces a legal challenge over a patent violation.

Iranian authorities seize 7,000 crypto mining machines west of Tehran.

Payment service behemoth Alipay launches a NFT sales platform.

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


Welcome to The Daily Forkast, June 23rd, 2021, I’m Angie Lau. Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.

Coming up, Korea’s largest crypto exchange faces a lawsuit, Iran seizes 7,000 mining machines, Ant Group launches its own NFT platform. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

South Korea’s biggest crypto exchange Upbit seems to be in hot water once again. This time it’s looking at a patent infringement lawsuit. A foundation belonging to the Seoul University of Foreign Studies has accused the exchange of violating a patent on an e-wallet system for safe virtual asset transactions.

Now, the foundation has asked the court to impose a ban on the use of these in Upbit’s operations, which essentially means stopping all of Upbit’s core services. Well, Upbit says not so fast.

In a statement to Forkast.News, Upbit denied any infringement and said if needed, “it will be very easy to prove prior use because Upbit was released much earlier than the patent filing date.”

But we also tracked down the other side here. Forkast.News spoke with one university official who’s involved in the lawsuit who asked to remain anonymous. He refuted Upbit’s claims, saying Upbit had only started to provide the services in question more recently, especially in preparation for the government’s new crypto law. The university believes the patent filing predates any Upbit developments for transaction security it says, and said it will continue to take strong measures to protect its patent rights.

Bitcoin getting banged up a bit this week, dropping below the US$30,000 mark for the first time in six months. On Tuesday, it fell to US$28,800 before bouncing back 12 hours later to over US$30,000. BTC had already been in the trenches when China’s central bank on Monday called on some of the country’s largest institutions to crack down harder on trading in crypto.

Justin d’Anethan, head of exchange sales at Hong Kong-based EQONEX, sees retail investors hitting the sell button.

“Retail investors, the people who bought towards the top in the mid-50Ks, maybe even early as 60Ks, are feeling very, very desperate about their holdings being halved, essentially. And so they’re giving in to the fear and selling. I actually think that most of the buying is done by institutional players that maybe missed the long bull run.”

D’Anethan says that because the focus is on Bitcoin right now, people might end up taking bets away from altcoins like Ethereum in the process.

So just how did Bitcoin end the day to day here in Asia? In the green closing up just over 4.2% 4 p.m. local Hong Kong time. And in the top 10 for cryptocurrencies, lots of green here as well. Cardano up nearly 7% and Dogecoin proving it still has some bark left, ending the day up just under 8%.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have seized 7,000 mining machines at an illegal farm located just west of Tehran. That’s according to Reuters, which cited state media reports. In an attempt to reduce the number of power blackouts, Iran, in May, issued a temporary ban on crypto mining for four months.

A study from Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company found that around 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining operations in the country were giving Tehran a chance to buy millions and crypto, which can be used to buy imports, thus helping offset the impact of US-led sanctions that have been hammering Tehran’s energy sector and the broader economy.

And finally, one of China’s payment services, Alipay, is launching its own NFT platform. And it’s as easy as swiping purchase on your mobile phone. It’s available within the app itself and will be facilitating the sales of NFT pieces.

So here’s how it works. The collections currently available are images of flying apsaras and sacred deer from the Dunhuang Fine Arts Institute. Each of them only costs 9.9 yuan or US$1.50, plus ten Alipay points gained from daily transactions. And owners can use their unique NFT art as a background for their QR code — which you can flash around next time you use your payment app or share your contact.

The NFT service features owner Ant Group’s Ethereum blockchain technology AntChain, which was founded back in 2015. For now, payments will have to be made in yuan though, and no virtual currency will be accepted yet. Seems like it’s already hit though — they’re sold out.

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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