EXPLAINER: Has the Jpex Explosion Killed Hong Kong’s Crypto Dream?
In September, Hong Kong’s reputation as a global financial hub took a battering following the news of high-profile arrests related to unlicensed crypto exchange Japan Exchange (JPEX). The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued two public announcements warning investors that JPEX’s claims to be regulated were false, and that some of its activities, including offering high returns on various virtual asset products, were prohibited under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance.
CRYPTO: Seeking a Balance
The year 2022 was a catastrophic one for the global crypto industry, with the collapses of the FTX Group and the Terra Luna ecosystem, as well as the bankruptcies of crypto lenders Celsius Network and Blockfi, and crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, among the factors that wiped out some $2 trillion from the market. However, Asian jurisdictions like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have been realistic in acknowledging that crypto isn’t going away any time soon. Instead, they seek to strengthen cryptocurrency regulations and maintain their balancing act in attempting to minimise speculative and compliance risks.
Seeking a Balance
In April, Thailand issued a ban against payments using cryptocurrencies and other digital assets that is set to go into effect this month. While the aim has been to maintain stability in financial markets, lawyers say Thailand’s digital asset industry may grow more slowly due to the restrictions.
Wanted: Crypto Clarity
Thailand’s digital assets industry has been booming in recent months. According to the country’s SEC, cryptocurrency trading accounts have rocketed from 160,000 at the end of 2020 to 470,000 by the start of February. In March, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) issued policy guidelines on how stablecoins are to be regulated, but these still leave many areas of ambiguity for lawyers and businesses in the market.
Analysis: Musk or no Musk, India’s crypto hopes appear headed for heartbreak
Cryptocurrency, and in particular bitcoin, is having quite the moment. On Tuesday, it vaulted above $50,000 for the first time, continuing a rally that has seen it rise nearly 900 percent since March 2020. Reuters reported that most of the gains coming after electric carmaker Tesla, owned by the outspoken entrepreneur Elon Musk, said it had bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin.