China and the crypto ETFs, Thai NFT music fest, KuCoin’s 1.3M new bots: Asia Express

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China and the crypto ETFs, Thai NFT music fest, KuCoin’s 1.3M new bots: Asia Express
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Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Hong Kong’s new Bitcoin and Ether ETFs

Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission has approved spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs.

But will they unlock a river of gold from Asian investors, or will they simply be a blip on the radar of the finance world?

Social media pricked up its ears at the news that Hong Kong offshoots of Chinese asset managers Harvest Fund Management, Bosera Asset Management, and China Asset Management (ChinaAMC) are among the first to kickstart their crypto asset ETFs. 

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Bosera will launch its spot crypto ETFs in collaboration with Hong Kong-based HashKey Capital. OSL Digital Securities, a licensed digital asset platform in Hong Kong, will act as the sub-custodian for both ChinaAMC and Harvest. Unlike their United States counterparts, Hong Kong crypto ETFs can settle both in fiat money and in-kind, allowing users to redeem their ETF assets directly for Bitcoin and Ether.

“This mechanism enhances market liquidity by allowing the direct exchange of the asset for ETF shares, reducing reliance on cash settlements and facilitating uninterrupted trading flows,” said Patrick Pan, CEO and chairman of OSL.

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong needs about two weeks to finalize listing procedures and other arrangements after the SFC’s approval. 

On April 18, local fintech firm Eddid Financial became the third approved securities firm for crypto ETF trading services. Specifically, Eddid Financial will provide virtual asset trading and product distribution services to general retail investors and facilitate the creation and redemption of crypto ETF units. 

While there are wild predictions the new ETFs could unlock up to $25 billion worth of inflows, not everyone is bullish. 

“Mainland China investors probably won’t be eligible to buy Hong Kong-listed spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs as they are barred from buying virtual assets,” commented Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas.

Currently, there exists a $50,000 annual cap for Chinese residents to transfer money out of Mainland China to places such as Hong Kong. 

Hence, due to the lack of access for Chinese investors, Balchunas predicts that Hong Kong crypto ETFs may attract just “$1 billion within two years,” compared to the over $50 billion currently managed by U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs. The United States has yet to approve a spot Ether ETF, which is facing dimmer regulatory prospects.

David Bailey
David Bailey on X.

KuCoin’s roller coaster Q1

Crypto exchange KuCoin has had a wild first quarter. 

In the exchange’s latest Q1 2024 report, the firm disclosed that its registered users surpassed 32 million, up 4.32% from Q4 2023, and its spot trading volume surged 122% over the same period. Users created 1.3 million custom trading bots in Q1, with over $5 billion in trading volume.

Earlier this week, the exchange credited its users the first part of a $20 million airdrop as compensation for temporary withdrawal delays after the firm’s criminal indictment by prosecutors of the U.S. Southern District of New York as well as civil charges filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). KuCoin’s airdrop was also upsized to $20 million from an initial pledge of $10 million.

“Within 5 days, there will be 10 rounds of airdrops worth $20 million credited to 3 million users,” KuCoin staff wrote. Airdrop values range from 1 to 2,000 in Tether (USDT) equivalents.

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Web3 fan protocol to launch music festival in Thailand after $10M raise 

Music idol protocol Fansland will host a Web3 music festival in Thailand after securing a $10 million funding round.

The round was led by IME, Linear Capital and Falablock. The firm will host a novel music festival in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok on May 4 and 5, with an estimated attendance of 40,000 people.

“Join and meet up with PSY (creator ofGangnam Style), Edison Chen, Henry Lau, Chuang Asia, Dice & BUS, Dreamnote & Pretzelle, Sistar19; Taemin, 24kGoldn and more,” Fansland wrote, “Connect, celebrate, and immerse yourself in a Web3 music festival that brings together tens of thousands of music lovers from around the globe.”

Acclaimed South Korean pop signer PSY will be featured at Fansland's upcoming music festival in Thailand (X)
Acclaimed South Korean pop signer PSY will be featured at Fansland’s upcoming music festival in Thailand (X)

Tickets are on sale at Trips.com for 6,000 Thai baht ($167.25) apiece. It features an NFT ticketing system, tokenized music products, and AI-generated music idols who will perform at the event.

After purchase, tickets can be mintedas NFTs on Fansland and are thereafter tradable on secondary markets or be used as an access point to interact with Fansland DeFi. Fanland devs said the AI virtual idol launchpad would be governed by tokenholders of FANS to decide on idols’ futures:

“Token holders gain benefit from dividends linked to the idol’s commercial activities, such as endorsements and performances, and participate in the idol’s training, career strategy voting, and exclusive interactions, including private meet-and-greets.”

The Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok where the music festival will take place. (Bouygues Thai)
The Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok, where the music festival will take place. (Bouygues Thai)

Thailand has become a burgeoning crypto hub due to its hospitable climate (and people), readiness of infrastructure, and friendly regulators. Srettha Thavisin, Thailand’s prime minister, has promised a national airdrop of 10,000 baht worth in tokens to all residents to be financed via deficit spending.

Tencent secures infrastructure partnership with MultiverseX

Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent will provide blockchain infrastructure services to Romania-based MultiverseX. 

MultiverseX devs will use the node hosting service provided by Tencent Cloud to create applications from scratch without needing to code or learn the ins and outs of infrastructure technology. 

Tencent RPC supports major blockchains such as Ethereum, BNB Chain, Polygon, Solana, and others. On March 28, the firm expanded its Tencent Cloud service to layer-1 blockchain Sui.

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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