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Asia Express – Cointelegraph Magazine

by SuperiorInvest

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia features the industry’s most important events.

Samsung’s New Bitcoin ETF

On January 13, Samsung Asset Management, a 100% subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate of the same name, successfully listed the Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active ETF on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. According to local news site Edayily ETF debuted under the ticker 3135:HK and seeks to replicate the performance of spot bitcoin by investing in bitcoin futures listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

The ETF will also simplify procedures for investors seeking exposure to regulated bitcoin products in the Asia-Pacific time zone. Park Seong-jin, head of Samsung Asset Management’s Hong Kong office, said:

“Hong Kong is the only market in Asia where bitcoin futures ETFs are listed and traded on an institutional market. It will be a new option for investors interested in Bitcoin as a competitive product that reflects their risk management and risk management experience.”

North Korean hackers launder 41K ETH

As blockchain detective ZachXBT revealed on January 16th, hackers linked to the North Korea-backed Lazarus Group moved nearly 41,000 Ether ($63.5 million) from the Harmony bridge hack to Railgun, a platform that uses zero-knowledge technology to obfuscate blockchain transactions. .

The funds were reportedly deposited into three different cryptocurrency exchanges after leaving Railgun. On the same day, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the exchange, along with Huobi Global, had frozen some of the stolen funds and recovered 124 bitcoins ($2.59 million).

Nomad Bridge TVL before and after the exploit.
Nomad Bridge TVL before and after the exploit. Source: DefiLlama

Last June there was a Nomad chain bridge spent over $100 million after suspected North Korean hackers targeted the credentials of Nomad employees in the Asia-Pacific region. After the hackers gained control of the protocol, they deployed automatic laundering programs that moved the stolen assets late at night.

The Lazarus Group has been associated with a number of high profile decentralized financial incidents last year, incl Axie Infinity for $600 million Ronin hacked because the sanctions-ridden country turned to hacking and ransomware to make up for its lack of foreign exchange reserves.

Bitzlato Arrested for Laundering $700 Million+

According to to a statement by the US Department of Justice on January 18, the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato was shut down by US and EU authorities due to allegations that since May 2018, the exchange had processed $700 million in funds associated with illegal activities, including millions in ransomware proceeds. Prosecutors alleged that a substantial part of its trading volume is illicit funds, with Bitzlato only processing around $4.58 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions since its inception.

The Bitzlato website was taken down after the authorities intervened.The Bitzlato website was taken down after the authorities intervened.
Bitzlat’s website was taken down following enforcement action. Source: Bitzlato

Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national and majority shareholder of Bitzlato, was arrested in Miami on January 17 on charges of operating an unlicensed money transfer business. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Legkodymov was said to be an OG in the early Bitcoin community.  Source: Telegram. Legkodymov was said to be an OG in the early Bitcoin community.  Source: Telegram.
Legkodymov was apparently an OG in the early Bitcoin community. Source: Telegram

Legkodymov, who lives in Shenzhen, China, reportedly implemented Know Your Customer’s minimum requirements for Bitzlato users, stating that “neither selfies nor passports [are] required’ and allows users to register using information belonging to ‘straw man’ registrants. Authorities said Bitzlato became a safe haven for illegal transactions and served as the largest counterparty to the dark web marketplace Hydra Market.

“Hydra Market users exchanged more than $700 million in cryptocurrency with Bitzlato, either directly or through intermediaries, until Hydra Market was shut down by US and German law enforcement in April 2022. Bitzlato also received more than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.”

Coinbase is leaving Japan

In a January 18 statement, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase he said would cease operations in Japan, citing difficult marketing conditions. According to the exchange, users’ Japanese yen and crypto assets have been separated, and all customers will have until February 16 to withdraw their cryptocurrencies. Alternatively, users can also liquidate their digital assets and withdraw only to their fiat bank.

“All remaining cryptocurrency holdings on Coinbase on or after February 17th will be converted to JPY. In the month following February 17th, Coinbase will send the remaining JPY to an escrow account with the Legal Affairs Office in accordance with legal requirements. If customers do not take action by February 16, they will need to contact the Legal Affairs Office to collect their balance in JPY.”

Coinbase first began expanding into the Japanese market in 2018. Another crypto exchange, Kraken, ceased operations in Japan on December 28, citing “weak market conditions.” Earlier this month, Coinbase said it would lay off an additional 20% of its employees during the ongoing crypto winter.

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Hodlnaut’s angry creditors

On January 13, Bloomberg reported that creditors of Singaporean cryptocurrency lending and lending platform Hodlnaut rejected the company’s restructuring plan and decided to liquidate the remaining assets. Hodlnaut last August suspended all token withdrawal, deposit and exchange services. The firm is currently facing a police investigation after it allegedly misrepresented its exposure to the Terra USD stablecoin (USTC), losing investors $190 million in the subsequent collapse of the Terra ecosystem.

Japan clarifies NFT tax rules

As first reported by local news site Coin Post, Japan’s National Tax Authority released a January 13 document outlining the general tax treatment of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in the country. Specifically, NFTs are taxed if an individual creates a digital collectible and sells it to a third party, and if the individuals resell it to another person.

In both cases, the sales represent a transfer of viewing rights related to digital art and are classified as business income during the primary sale and transfer income during the secondary sale where capital gains rules apply. Additionally, in the event that NFTs have been hacked or stolen, individuals can either claim a different deduction for the loss or include the lost NFTs in expenses if they were business assets.

30,000 e-CNY airdrop prizes won in 15 seconds

According to a January 18 report by local news station Hangzhou Wang, the city of Hangzhou, in cooperation with Chinese food delivery platforms Meituan Dianping and Eleme, planted a series of central bank digital vouchers in the yuan digital currency (e-CNY CBDC) for residents. After claiming, users could redeem them on the platforms of the same name and purchase products for the upcoming Chinese New Year on January 22.

The only catch? All 30,000 e-CNY vouchers were claimed within 15 seconds of launch. Since late last year, e-CNY has expanded into tools such as paying taxes and local transportation, and has also been included in the People’s Bank of China. M0 calculations.

Zhiyuan Sun

Zhiyuan sun is a journalist at Cointelegraph focusing on technology related news. He has several years of experience writing for major financial media outlets such as The Motley Fool, Nasdaq.com, and Seeking Alpha.

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