- Hong Kong Legislative Council member proposes including Bitcoin in the investor immigration program and categorizing it as a financial product.
- Singapore’s MAS focuses on stablecoins and CBDCs as part of the future financial ecosystem, highlighting their potential over traditional cryptocurrencies.
- South Korea seeks an 8-year prison term for Bithumb’s former chairman, while Taiwanese authorities prosecute a couple for running a crypto mining farm and stealing electricity.
The Asian cryptocurrency landscape has been bustling with significant developments this past week. From Hong Kong’s innovative immigration proposals involving Bitcoin to Singapore’s strides in digital currency, the region has been a hotbed of crypto activity.
Hong Kong’s Progressive Crypto Moves
Hong Kong’s Legislative Council member, Dennis Kwok, has proposed a groundbreaking idea: including Bitcoin investments in the region’s investor immigration program.
This suggestion comes as Hong Kong relaunches its investment immigration program after an eight-year break, with a clear exclusion of real estate investments and mainland Chinese residents.
If this proposal is accepted, Bitcoin traded on licensed virtual asset exchanges could be categorized as financial products, making them eligible for the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme.
This move could position Hong Kong as a frontrunner in integrating cryptocurrencies into mainstream financial systems. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has completed the first phase of the Digital Hong Kong Dollar Pilot Program.
The second phase, planned for the upcoming year, aims to explore new use cases for digital currencies in collaboration with the industry.
The “Digital Hong Kong Dollar” is set to enhance the retail payment ecosystem by introducing benefits like programmability, tokenization, and instant settlement.
These features are expected to accelerate transactions, reduce costs, and promote inclusivity, particularly in new economic areas like Web3.
Furthermore, HashKey Group’s COO has announced their submission of applications for listing four cryptocurrencies with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
This development is set to expand investment opportunities for retail investors next year, further diversifying the region’s cryptocurrency landscape.
Singapore’s Forward-Thinking Crypto Strategies
Singapore, another key player in the Asian crypto market, has made significant strides this week.
Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), highlighted at the Singapore FinTech Festival that stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) hold more promise for the future financial ecosystem than traditional cryptocurrencies.
Menon pointed out the failures of cryptocurrencies as stable means of exchange or value due to their volatility. He lauded well-regulated stablecoins like StraitsX and Paxos’ USD-backed stablecoin as promising digital currencies that could work in tandem with CBDCs.
In addition, MAS unveiled tokenization pilots, including a licensed instance on the Avalanche blockchain. This pilot will transmit the spot forex price for the USD/SGD currency pair to the blockchain, where it will be recorded immutably.
The initiative includes tokenization deposit pilots on two smart contract platforms, marking a significant step in Singapore’s digital currency journey.
Moreover, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Ghana jointly announced Project DESFT, a blockchain-based inclusive fintech solution.
This project aims to transform enterprise digital identities and various bills into trusted digital credentials, subsequently tokenized on-chain using the ERC-3525 standard.
This initiative is particularly focused on enabling SMEs in developing regions to participate in international trade.
Other Notable Developments
South Korea and Taiwan have also witnessed notable crypto-related events. South Korean prosecutors have sought an 8-year prison term for Lee Jung-hoon, former chairman of Bithumb, for embezzlement charges.
In Taiwan, a couple who set up cryptocurrency mining farms and stole electricity worth over TWD 150 million were prosecuted.
India’s Supreme Court rejected a petition to instruct the government to formulate cryptocurrency guidelines, a significant development in the country’s ongoing crypto regulatory saga.
Lastly, the Philippines announced the sale of PHP 10 billion in one-year tokenized government bonds, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, signifying the growing acceptance of digital currencies in government operations.
This week has been a whirlwind of activity in the Asian cryptocurrency market, with countries like Hong Kong and Singapore leading the charge in integrating digital currencies into their financial systems.
These developments are not only pivotal for the regional market but are also indicative of the evolving global crypto landscape. As Asia continues to innovate and adapt, it remains a key player in shaping the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
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