Asia Express – Cointelegraph Magazine

Our weekly roundup of reports from East Asia curates the trade’s most essential developments.

Samsung’s new Bitcoin ETF

On Jan. 13, Samsung Asset Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the namesake South Korean conglomerate, efficiently listed the Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active ETF on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. According to native information outlet Edaily, the ETF debuted below the ticker 3135:HK and seeks to copy the efficiency of spot Bitcoin by investing in Bitcoin futures listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

The ETF may even simplify the procedures for buyers looking for publicity to regulated Bitcoin merchandise within the Asia-Pacific time zone. Park Seong-jin, head of Samsung Asset Management’s Hong Kong workplace, commented: 

“Hong Kong is the one market in Asia the place Bitcoin futures ETFs are listed and traded within the institutional market. It might be a brand new choice for buyers who’re concerned with Bitcoin as a aggressive product that displays their expertise in threat administration and threat administration.”

North Korean hackers launder 41K ETH

As revealed by blockchain sleuth ZachXBT on Jan. 16, hackers linked to the North Korea-backed Lazarus Group moved near 41,000 Ether ($63.5 million) from the Harmony bridge hack to Railgun, a platform that makes use of zero-knowledge expertise to obfuscate blockchain transactions.

Funds have been allegedly deposited to 3 completely different cryptocurrency exchanges after leaving Railgun. The identical day, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated the alternate, together with Huobi Global, had frozen a portion of the stolen funds and recovered 124 Bitcoin ($2.59 million).

Nomad Bridge TVL earlier than and after the exploit. Source: DefiLlama

Last June, the Nomad cross-chain bridge was drained of over $100 million after suspected North Korean hackers focused the login credentials of Nomad workers within the Asia-Pacific area. After gaining management of the protocol, the hackers deployed automated laundering applications that moved the stolen property late at evening.

Lazarus Group has been linked to a collection of high-profile decentralized finance incidents final 12 months, together with the $600 million Axie Infinity Ronin hack, because the sanctions-ridden nation turned to hacking and ransomware to make up for its shortfall of overseas foreign money reserves. 

Bitzlato busted for laundering $700M+

According to a Jan. 18 assertion from the U.S. Department of Justice, Hong Kong cryptocurrency alternate Bitzlato was shut down by U.S. and E.U. authorities over allegations that since May 2018 the alternate has processed $700 million in funds linked to illicit actions, together with thousands and thousands in ransomware proceeds. Prosecutors alleged that illicit funds made up a major a part of its buying and selling quantity, with Bitzlato solely processing round $4.58 billion value of cryptocurrency transactions since its inception. 

Bitzlato website taken down after authorities' raid.
Bitzlato’s web site has been taken down following enforcement motion. Source: Bitzlato

Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian nationwide and majority shareholder of Bitzlato, was arrested in Miami on Jan. 17 on prices of conducting an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise. He faces a most penalty of 5 years in jail if convicted. 

Legkodymov was allegedly an OG in the early Bitcoin community. Source: Telegram.
Legkodymov was apparently an OG within the early Bitcoin neighborhood. Source: Telegram

Legkodymov, who lives in Shenzhen, China, allegedly applied minimal Know Your Customer necessities on Bitzlato customers, specifying that “neither selfies nor passports [are] required,” and permitting customers to signup utilizing data belonging to “straw man” registrants. Authorities stated that Bitzlato turned a protected haven for illicit transactions and served as the most important counterparty to darkish internet market Hydra Market. 

“Hydra Market customers exchanged greater than $700 million in cryptocurrency with Bitzlato, both straight or via intermediaries, till Hydra Market was shuttered by U.S. and German regulation enforcement in April 2022. Bitzlato additionally obtained greater than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.”

Coinbase leaves Japan

In a Jan. 18 assertion, cryptocurrency alternate Coinbase said it will stop operations in Japan, citing troublesome advertising and marketing circumstances. According to the alternate, customers’ Japanese yen and crypto property have been segregated, and all prospects can have till Feb. 16 to withdraw their crypto holdings. Alternatively, customers may also liquidate their digital property and withdraw yen to their fiat financial institution. 

“Any remaining crypto holdings held on Coinbase on or after Feb. 17 might be transformed to JPY. In the month following Feb. 17, Coinbase will ship any remaining JPY to a Guaranty Account on the Legal Affairs Bureau in accordance with authorized necessities. If prospects don’t take any motion earlier than Feb. 16, they should coordinate with the Legal Affairs Bureau to retrieve their JPY steadiness.”

Coinbase first started its growth into the Japanese market in 2018. Another crypto alternate, Kraken, ceased operations in Japan on Dec. 28, citing “weak market circumstances.” Earlier this month, Coinbase stated it will lay off one other 20% of its employees amid the continued crypto winter. 

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Hodlnaut’s offended collectors

On Jan. 13, Bloomberg reported that collectors of Singapore cryptocurrency borrowing and lending platform Hodlnaut refused a company restructuring plan and opted for the liquidation of remaining property. Last August, Hodlnaut suspended all withdrawal, deposit and token swap companies. The agency is presently going through a police probe after allegedly misrepresenting its publicity to the Terra USD stablecoin (USTC) and shedding buyers $190 million within the subsequent Terra ecosystem collapse. 

Japan clarifies NFT tax guidelines

As first reported by native information outlet Coin Post, Japan’s National Tax Agency released a doc on Jan. 13 summarizing the final tax remedy of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, in the country. Specifically, NFTs are taxed if a person creates a digital collectible and sells it to a 3rd celebration and when people resell it to a different individual.

In each circumstances, gross sales signify the switch of viewing rights associated to digital artwork and are categorized as enterprise earnings throughout main gross sales and switch earnings throughout secondary gross sales, the place capital beneficial properties guidelines apply. Moreover, within the occasion that NFTs have been hacked or stolen, people can declare both a miscellaneous loss deduction or can embrace the misplaced NFT as a part of bills if it was a enterprise asset. 

30,000 e-CNY airdrop prizes claimed in 15 secs 

According to a Jan. 18 report by native information outlet Hangzhou Wang, the City of Hangzhou, in partnership with Chinese meals supply platforms Meituan Dianping and Eleme, airdropped a collection of digital yuan central financial institution digital foreign money (e-CNY CBDC) vouchers for residents. Once claimed, customers may then money them in on the namesake platforms to buy deliverables for the upcoming Chinese New Year on Jan. 22.

The solely catch? All of the 30,000 e-CNY vouchers have been claimed inside 15 seconds of launch. Since late final 12 months, the e-CNY has expanded into utilities akin to paying for taxes, and native transportation, in addition to being included in The People’s Bank of China’s M0 calculations

Zhiyuan Sun

Zhiyuan solar is a journalist at Cointelegraph specializing in technology-related information. He has a number of years of expertise writing for main monetary media retailers akin to The Motley Fool, and Seeking Alpha.

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