Crypto

China NFT Weekly: Bad Week for Cryptocurrency

Convenient news about the latest developments in Web3, NFT, Blockchain and Metaverse in China and beyond, collected weekly by Pandaily for you.

This week: Tencent Huanhe’s NFT market will close, Zipmex will be the latest cryptocurrency exchange to stop withdrawals, Hong Kong’s CFO says crypto and DeFi won’t disappear, and more.

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Tencent shuts down NFT platform Huanhe

Tencent is laying off an unknown number of employees from its Huanhe 幻核 NFT buying and collecting platform with the ultimate intention of shutting down the business, according to people familiar with the matter. Caixin Global and Forkast were the first to report this story.

  • The news comes amid heightened regulatory scrutiny of digital assets in China, with tech giants including Tencent and Ant Group signing an agreement last month to stop NFT secondary trading.
  • Since its launch in August 2021, Huanhe has adjusted its development strategy to avoid regulatory risks. Sales on the platform have slowed down since June, and the company is about to release an international version of the NFT platform.
  • Meanwhile, Jingtan, an NFT platform operated by fintech giant Ant Group, has not issued any notice of termination, sources told Caixin.
  • Chinese regulators and state media have repeatedly warned the public about the risks associated with secondary trading and speculation in digital assets, but the rules regarding NFTs remain unclear.
  • Last September, Beijing imposed a total ban on all cryptocurrency trading and mining, making blockchain technology a strategic priority.
    • The Blockchain Based Service Network, or BSN, is part of the country’s efforts to build capacity in the sector.
    • Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country needs to “seize the opportunities” provided by blockchain technology. (Forcast, Caixin Global)

READ MORE: Chinese tech giants vow to end NFT speculation

Zipmex Becomes Latest Crypto Exchange to Block Withdrawals

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex has suspended withdrawals, becoming the latest company caught in the aftermath of a series of defaults sweeping the digital asset industry. This was first reported by the Washington Post and Bloomberg.

  • Founded in 2018, Zipmex has two million users and operates in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Indonesia. With the value of native tokens below 40 cents, more than 90% below the peak level, the platform is facing severe financial difficulties caused by transactions with crypto lenders such as Babel Finance and Celsius Network.
  • “Due to a combination of circumstances beyond our control, including volatile market conditions and resulting financial hardship for our major trading partners, in order to maintain the integrity of our platform, we will be suspending withdrawals until “further notice,” the company wrote. on Twitter. a week.
  • “Our exposure to Celsius has been minimal. So we intended to reflect this on our own balance sheet,” the company said in a separate statement on Thursday.
  • Zipmex will discuss its options with the two companies. Earlier, the company’s Thai chief executive appeared in a long-deleted YouTube video saying that Zipmex was in talks with investors about a possible financial bailout.
  • One of Zipmex’s most notable services, ZipUp+, which offers up to 10% returns on crypto deposits, is currently on pause. (Washington Post, Bloomberg)

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Hong Kong Financial Authority Chief Says Crypto and DeFi Are Not Going Away

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) CEO Eddie Yue said more scrutiny of stablecoins could help mitigate the risks of DeFi, but technology aimed at removing the need for intermediaries for lending and investing will continue to play a major role in the financial sector. system. Reuters and CoinDesk were the first to report the story.

  • Speaking at a meeting of G20 financial officials, Yue called for more scrutiny of the crypto industry to avoid another crash like the algorithmic stablecoin terraUSD (UST) and its companion token LUNA, CoinDesk reports, citing a FinBold report.
  • “Despite the Terra-Luna incident, I believe that crypto and DeFi are here to stay – although they can be curbed – as the technology and business innovations behind these developments are likely to be important to our future financial system.” Yue said.
  • The CEO also argued that stablecoins and crypto exchanges are gateways to DeFi projects and therefore easier to regulate than the products themselves.
  • In January, the HKMA released a statement that it would continue to scrutinize crypto technologies as they “strike the right balance between maintaining a safe and efficient financial system in Hong Kong and supporting financial innovation.” stating that the stablecoin’s rise could potentially hurt Hong Kong’s local currency. (Coindesk, Reuters)

Hong Kong launches first metaverse churches with avatars and virtual preachers

In February, Hong Kong Baptist pastor Rev. Enoch Lam Yi-lok launched Me Church, a metaverse church where people can come virtually as avatars. SCMP was the first to report this.

  • The Reverend said this was to provide a solution for parishioners who are uncomfortable with the Covid Special Administrative Region rules and those who may find traditional services boring.
  • Lam, though in his 60s, is known for his unconventional preaching methods. Along with launching the Metaverse Project, aimed at younger and more tech-savvy parishioners, the reverend also created the comedy show So Gore (Brother Jesus) to promote the religion.
  • Lam also said that Covid has shaken the attitudes of older congregants, who are now more accustomed to attending services online from the comfort of their homes.
  • In recent years, online churches have become increasingly popular, with some churches even accepting cryptocurrencies as donations. Worldwide, one of the most famous churches is Life.Church, an American project that grew out of a network of physical churches.
  • The church in the metaverse could potentially offer a more direct and intuitive way to interact with the Bible, the Reverend explained, using the story of Noah building the ark to prepare for a major flood that no one expected. . “They (young people) will not just sit and listen to you,” he said. “They’ll want to jump in and build Noah’s Ark themselves.” (SCMP)

Indian Finance Minister Supports Central Bank Ban on Cryptocurrency and Seeks International Cooperation

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reaffirmed the position taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regarding the ban on cryptocurrencies, but stated that significant international cooperation is needed to pass any legislation. CoinDesk and TechCrunch were the first to report this story.

  • In a written statement in response to questions raised by Tirmaavalavan Tol, Member of Parliament, the Minister of Finance said: “The RBI has recommended the development of legislation in this sector. The RBI believes that cryptocurrencies should be banned,” she said.
  • “Cryptocurrencies, by definition, have no borders and require international cooperation to prevent regulatory arbitrage. Therefore, any regulatory or prohibitive legislation can only be effective after significant international cooperation on the assessment of risks and benefits and the evolution of common taxonomy and standards,” she added.
  • The Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of regulators, treasury officials and central bankers from the G-20 countries, including India, said earlier this month that it would come up with “robust” global rules for cryptocurrencies this October. The FSB said the crypto assets were used primarily for “speculative purposes” and did not operate in “an unregulated space.”
  • Earlier this year, India moved to tax transactions and profits related to cryptocurrency trading. This was seen as one of the first steps taken by the central bank to regulate the industry. (CoinDesk, TechCrunch)

Mojang, developer of Minecraft, bans NFTs

Minecraft developer Mojang said on Wednesday that it will introduce a ban on blockchain technology and NFTs. Protocol and Yahoo Finance were the first to report the story.

  • Minecraft has a marketplace where people can sell their creations for others to use. Mojang noted that some companies have recently started offering NFTs related to Minecraft skin packs and world files that people can buy.
  • The studio has stated that players could earn Minecraft NFTs for activities performed in the game or elsewhere, but Mojang disagrees with all of this.
  • The company also stated that creators can continue to use the game as a platform to create and sell NFTs, but digital assets will not be integrated with Minecraft client and server applications.
  • “In order to provide Minecraft players with a secure and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated into our Minecraft client and server applications or used to create NFTs associated with any in-game content, including worlds, skins, personality items, or other mods,” wrote Mojang. in a post.
  • “We will also be paying close attention to how blockchain technology evolves over time to ensure that the above principles are maintained and whether this allows for more secure experiences or other practical and inclusive gaming applications,” the company added. “However, we currently have no plans to implement blockchain technology in Minecraft.” (Protocol, Yahoo Finance)

That’s it for this week’s newsletter – thanks for reading! As always, we welcome any feedback on how to improve this newsletter. Write to us at [email protected]. See you next week !

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