Bitcoin, which recently hit $10K per coin, is now the most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Despite its volatility and price swings, Bitcoin has been a highly impactful force in both blockchain technology development as well as how it’s used by individuals. However, there are also many alternative blockchains such as Ethereum that have already gained widespread acceptance among developers and consumers alike:
This weekly compilation of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong aims to select the most relevant stories in the sector, such as notable initiatives, legislative developments, and business blockchain integrations.
Getting out of 2021 with a stutter
Last week, we believed we’d reached the bottom for Chinese exchanges when Bitmart was hacked for $150 million. AscendEX lost $80 million to a similar kind of fraud this week, impacting its Ethereum, BSC, and Polygon hot wallets. AscendEX published a security post-mortem on the intrusion on December 16:
An in-depth security assessment revealed that the intrusion was caused by an exploit of a hardware-level vulnerability from AscendEX’s third-party infrastructure. The intrusion was conducted out by very skilled criminals. To learn more about the event, we’ve been collaborating with law enforcement and blockchain forensic organizations.
AscendEX, like Bitmart, reacted immediately, assuring the community that their cash will be safe and secure, minimising the harm to the company’s image. AscendEX, originally known as BitMax, had done a good job of drawing customers from all across the world, and had just secured a $50 million Series B investment in November of 2021. In the aftermath of restrictive Chinese laws, that round featured prominent names like Polychain Capital, Alameda Research, and Jump Capital, providing the exchange impetus to pursue a genuinely global expansion plan.
Huobi going through a rough patch?
Millions of Chinese users’ accounts were banned on December 15 by one of the oldest exchanges. Users in China have until the end of December to utilize user-to-user OTC services, presumably so they may cash out before the services are entirely shut down. By withdrawing to on-chain wallets or exchanges with more flexible procedures, most clever users would most certainly discover loopholes around laws.
Prior to Binance’s meteoric rise during the 2017 ICO boom, Huobi was the world’s biggest exchange in terms of volume and liquidity. It had attempted to cooperate with local authorities initially with offices in Beijing, as well as specific innovation zones in Hainan and other regions of China, with a focus on Chinese users. After authorities adopted a zero-tolerance stance to crypto exchanges early this year, forcing the exchange to gradually phase off services for Chinese traders, this tactic proved to be short-sighted. Huobi had little room to hide because to its ‘first-mover advantage,’ which made it too visible for authorities to ignore.
When Chinese users tried to trade or deposit money on their Huobi accounts after December 15, they were presented with this notice.
Colin Wu reported on Huobi’s internal issues, saying that COO Robin Zhu had resigned from management and that a number of other prominent individuals, including Bybit, had departed for rival exchanges. Ciara Sun, the flamboyant Head of Global Assets, was one of the major departures. She had made a name for herself in China via a mix of effective company growth and her signature cat photographs.
Some personal information
I’m leaving @HuobiGlobal after more than two years to embark on a new project targeted at enabling the next generation of #Web3 and #metaverse applications. ♥️
More information will be forthcoming, but first, a brief post
December 13, 2021 — Ciara Sun (@Crypto Ciara)
Still, with Huobi announcing its new regional headquarters in Singapore two weeks ago, there may be potential for the previous top exchange to recover. This is an intriguing option, given Binance’s announcement on December 13 that it will no longer be launching an exchange in Singapore. Although the island country is known for its progressive regulatory policies, the procedure for obtaining licenses may be lengthy, particularly for Binance, which has already been singled out by numerous authorities for breaching the rules.
If Huobi is able to change senior management in a sensible manner, it may be able to reclaim market share in Asia with its financial and strategic resources. Huobi is now ranked sixth on FTX’s volume monitor, almost equal to KuCoin and Bybit, but much below its former competitor OKEx. OKEx has been the greatest gainer in recent weeks, absorbing major volume from Huobi and establishing itself as the world’s clear second largest exchange.
Officials from the government are in hot water.
According to a national security probe, 34 state-owned firms used state resources, like as equipment and networks, to engage in cryptocurrency mining. 48 persons, including 21 party and government officials, were given unspecified sanctions. A total of 70 people were interviewed and admonished for not providing enough information on the subject.
In Hong Kong, adoption is common.
Of any developed market, Hong Kong has the fewest unengaged crypto owners. Visa is the source of this information.
According to a recent Visa poll issued on December 9, 18 percent of Hong Kong residents are active cryptocurrency investors, while 13 percent are passive investors. Only the United States ranked higher among the markets examined. Given the number of actual bitcoin retail locations and organizations established in the special administrative area, this is expected. Between August 25 and September 13, the Visa poll received 6,430 online answers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom.