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Singapore and Hong Kong's rivalry to become the leading regional crypto hub is fierce, but there's a third party stirring in the background: Taiwan. Perhaps overshadowed by its bigger brother, China, the region's crypto interest has flown relatively under the radar.
However, its advancements in the industry are worthy of your attention. Recently, we reported how Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin was awarded an "Employment Gold Card" from Taiwan. The award entitles him to live or work in Taiwan for up to three years without restriction. Likewise, Buterin has been a vocal supporter of Taiwan's blockchain industry, which he says is "home to a robust Ethereum community." As far as Blockhead is concerned, if it's good enough for Buterin, it's good enough for us.
But why is the crypto king so drawn to the region? Perhaps the answer lies in security. The Taiwanese were reportedly one of the largest users of the FTX exchange per capita. Users were particularly drawn to FTX's high-interest rates compared to local banks.
Consequently, Taiwan has been looking to adopt special crypto legislation as a result of FTX's collapse. Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) serves as the regulator of the region's crypto industry and works with crypto industry participants on “self-regulation measures.”
And now, the FSC is outlining new key measures for crypto regulations in Taiwan including:
- Unregistered foreign virtual asset service providers are banned from operating in Taiwan
- Customer assets and treasury assets must be segregated
- Listing and delisting crypto assets mechanics must be established
The move reflects a broader regional need for tighter and smarter regulation. Hong Kong is currently facing backlash for letting JPEX slip through the net. At least 2,305 victims were swindled by the Hong Kong exchange, netting a loss of HK$1.43 billion.
Singapore, which already earned a reputation for its strict crypto regulation, is also unafraid to tighten its grip. Earlier this month, MAS banned 3AC founders Su Zhu and Kyle Livingston Davies from participating in financial activity for nine years.
Whilst Hong Kong and Singapore grapple with crypto villains in an effort to restore credibility to the industry and their regulatory frameworks, Taiwan is taking a "prevention is better than cure" approach.
Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs is planning to incorporate a crypto business category in its commercial group classifications. The move will enable crypto businesses to establish industry associations and develop self-regulatory standards. Taiwan is targeting finalization by mid to late October, following public feedback and collaboration with its Interior Ministry.
December will see the return of Taipei Blockchain Week, which will host the likes of Buterin and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. As global industry leaders evaluate regional considerations, Taiwan is becoming a viable contender. Watch this space!
- SEC & ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF – The Dance Continues: The SEC, ever the elusive dance partner, has once again left ARK Invest and 21Shares waiting by the dance floor, postponing their decision on the Bitcoin ETF proposal. It's like a high school prom all over again, but with more financial implications. Now will we may see delays on all the other filings too? BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, Invesco, Wisdomtree, Fidelity & Valkyrie are all due in mid-October. While the crypto community twiddles its thumbs, one can't help but wonder: is the SEC just playing hard to get, or are they genuinely concerned about market dynamics?
- Gemini's Big Bet on India – More than Monsoon Romance: Gemini, in a move bolder than a Bollywood plot twist, is doubling down on its commitment to India. They're not just sending love letters; they're planning to invest some $24 million to grow its development center in Guragon over the next two years. With India's crypto scene buzzing like a Mumbai market, Gemini's move might just be the start of a beautiful relationship. But as with all romances, only time will tell if this one's for keeps.
- BlockFi's Redemption Arc – From Bankruptcy to Payback Time: Crypto lender BlockFi is on the path to redemption. After a tumultuous financial spiral, they've now gotten the green light for their liquidation plan. And guess what? They're aiming to repay their customers. According to Cointelegraph, BlockFi owes up to $10 billion to over 100,000 creditors, including $1 billion to its three largest creditors and $220 million to bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. Looks like its customers might just get their Hollywood ending after all.
- iStudio & TripleA: A Match Made in Crypto Heaven: Singapore's iStudio is making tech shopping a crypto lover's dream. By joining forces with payment gateway TripleA, they're ensuring that Apple enthusiasts can splurge using their crypto stash. As businesses in Singapore continue to warm up to digital currencies, this move highlights the growing acceptance and integration of crypto in mainstream retail. It's a modern-day love story: tech meets crypto, and they live happily (and transactionally) ever after.
- JP Morgan's Chase UK – Giving Crypto the Royal Snub: Chase, JP Morgan's UK arm, has decided to go all "Downton Abbey" on crypto, turning up its nose at digital currency transactions, citing concerns over the volatile nature of digital assets. This decision aligns with the bank's cautious stance on cryptocurrencies and comes amidst a backdrop of regulatory scrutiny and debates on the role of digital currencies in traditional finance. While it might seem like they're stuck in the financial dark ages, it's a stark reminder that traditional banks and crypto are still doing the tango of trust.