Crypto center pivoting from East Asia to Southeast Asia

Blockchain Asia #23

Welcome back to Blockchain Asia. Coco again!

Asia is a very large, diverse region of the world and very much so with regard to crypto. Asian countries take a different stance from each other when it comes to cryptocurrency. Some are hostile and try to crack it down with a heavy hand, while others focus on building a regulatory framework to nurture it. Entrepreneurs and CEOs should be sensitive to the differences when setting up a shop or making global expansion plans to Asia.

Let’s dive in.

Crypto exchanges

Exchanges are being scrutinized as never before. Coordination between jurisdictions is limited and each takes a divergent approach.


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued an order to’s operator to stop providing payment services in Singapore for potentially breaching the Payment Services Act. Despite all the regulatory challenges the exchange is facing, Binance’s founder CZ told the Information that the exchange’s U.S. entity plans to go IPO in the U.S. within 3 years.


Coinbase launches a crypto exchange in Japan through a partnership with MUFG, one of the largest banks in Japan. Coinbase received approval from Japan’s regulator earlier this year.


Crypto exchange Okcoin, originally launched in China, opened an office in Miami. Meanwhile, the Ontario Securities Commission claims that OKEx, which belongs to the same parent company of Okcoin, may be violating securities law.

Crypto exchanges in South Korea

As the 9/24 deadline is approaching, only Upbit, the largest South Korean crypto exchange, has complied with the regulator’s requirements to receive approval of registration from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The rest of the crypto exchanges are facing the risk of having their websites shut down by regulators, or have to leave the market.

Crypto exchanges in Hong Kong

OSL Group, the first SFC-licensed digital asset platform that provides brokerage, exchange and custody to institutional investors in Hong Kong, has reported a good quarter.

FTX, which initially launched in Hong Kong, is looking to expand its U.S. footprint through the acquisition of CFTC licensed LedgerX LLC.

Unlike OSL or FTX, BitMex has had a bumpy road, though it seeded in Hong Kong as its fellow exchanges. This story traced back to the early days of BitMex and its founders.

Trends to watch

Three countries, Vietnam, India and Pakistan lead the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index released by Chainalysis.

Gemini released an independent study: “the State of Crypto in Singapore”. The report shows that 67% of the respondents own crypto assets; 1 in 5 crypto owners are women; ETH is the most popular crypto, BTC second, ADA and BNB the 3rd and fourth; 1 in 4 crypto holders own XRP and USDT; female owners hold more XRP and DOT than male.

While East Asia, led by China, is losing its leadership position in cryptocurrency and bitcoin mining, other regions such as Latin America and Africa are picking up.


This video is a good recap of China’s bitcoin mining situation and the ongoing migration out of the country.

This story sheds some light on why Chinese miners are flocking to Texas.

Crypto exchange KuCoin launches POW mining pool for miners globally.


Indonesian crypto investment/trading app Pintu raises $35m for Series A+, two months after closing its Series A.

Investment fund Folius Ventures LLC is raising $50mm to invest in Web3 applications to be created by entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific regions.

It took 4 years for Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc. to set up the country’s first cryptocurrency fund, which is expected to launch by the end of November. The fund will allow retail investors in Japan to diversify their portfolios through investment in cryptocurrencies.


Hex Trust, a crypto custodian founded in Hong Kong, receives the Capital Market Services License issued by MAS, which allows the company to provide custodian services in Singapore. In March, Hex Trust closed its Series A round led by the Hong Kong VC QBN Capital.

DBS Bank’s brokerage arm DBS Vickers receives the green light to offer crypto services to asset managers and companies in Singapore. DBS Bank’s crypto exchange DBEx, launched last December, has seen its trading volume increase fivefold to S$180M over the previous quarter.

Thank you for reading and, until the next issue, stay well and stay well informed.

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