Alibaba NFTs… censored?
On June 8, AliExpress, the online retail subsidiary of Chinese tech conglomerate Alibaba, announced that it had joined forces with Web3 developer The Moment3! to create a series of NFTs based on shopping themes.
The upcoming collection will feature 5,555 NFTs and is scheduled to debut on June 25, 2023. Less than one day after the announcement was made, AliExpress’ tweet was deleted. Nevertheless, AliExpress’ dev partner, posted a statement confirming the drop.
While no reason has been provided for why AliExpress deleted its original announcement, Chinese authorities have been cracking down on anything crypto-related and forcing firms to remove keywords related to “nonfungible tokens” from their products.
In April, Bitcoin price quotes were added to Douyin, which is the Chinese version of TikTok with over 1 billion users, for less than 48 hours before it was removed by authorities. Cryptocurrencies-fiat transactions, mining, and exchanges (but not outright ownership) are currently banned in China.
Binance humiliated on Chinese TV
If there is anything that the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest competing superpowers, have in common, it is their mutual hatred for cryptocurrency exchanges. On June 6, one day after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance over allegations of operating an unlicensed exchange and selling unregistered securities in the U.S., Chinese Central Television (CCTV) reported on the lawsuit for its one billion viewers. Curiously, the CCTV broadcast also acknowledged for the first time that Binance is the world’s “largest cryptocurrency exchange.”
Previously, CCTV broadcast a program about new cryptocurrency exchange rules in China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong that took effect on June 1. The segment was notable for not having anything particularly negative to say about crypto in a country where it is currently banned, which is probably why it’s believed that authorities took down the segment just one day later. Given Chinese authorities’ contempt for crypto exchanges such as the likes of Binance, it is likely that this report will stay up for good.
Hong Kong needs 50K-100K Web3 professionals
In a June 7 fireside chat between local news outlet Chaincatcher and Johnny Ng Kit-Chong, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Ng said that the SAR would need at least 50,000 to 100,000 Web3 positions to be filled in the next few years based on conservative estimates.
During the interview, Ng revealed that Hong Kong’s plans to incubate 1,000 Web3 firms in three years have already exceeded expectations, with more than 400 firms registering at the time of publication, four months since its launch. Speaking with regard to Hong Kong’s new crypto rules, Ng said:
“So, in fact, Hong Kong’s policies are relatively open. If you plan to make a game and issue a Token, there is no problem in Hong Kong. The key is whether the form of token sale involves securities or futures’ components, and this part will be regulated. In fact, Hong Kong’s supervision has always existed and is relatively clear, with almost no gray areas.”
Ng first became an investor in the Web3 space in 2010. He came in contact with Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper seven years later and “completely understood blockchain’s functions and its core values” shortly thereafter. Ng became a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong in January 2022 and has since pushed for pro-Web3 regulations in the SAR.
Do Kwon vs. the world
When a man is having a hard time, it’s usually not cool to punch down. However, for law enforcement officials across multiple jurisdictions, as well as hundreds of thousands of investors/victims of last year’s $40 billion Terra Luna collapse, the last thing they probably want to see is for Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon to get back on his feet again.
Earlier this week, Kwon scored a minor victory in his ongoing passport fraud case in Montenegro after an appeals process by prosecutors was dismissed by a Montenegrin court, setting himself and former Terraform Labs CFO Han Chang-Joon back out on 400,000 euros bail each once again. But before the two had time to celebrate, South Korean prosecutors announced that they would apply to freeze Kwon and associates’ $13 million held in Swiss Bank accounts.
Around the same time, a scandal broke out in Montenegro relating to Kwon’s alleged connections to the Balkan nation’s former minister of finance, Milojko Spajić. According to local news outlet Balkan Insight, Kwon sent a hand-written letter to Montenegro’s incumbent prime minister, Dritan Abazović, claiming that he had financed the “Europe Now” opposition party movement led by Spajić. The move came just days before Montenegro’s scheduled parliamentary elections on June 11.
Anyways, Kwon’s troubles in Montenegro are just the beginning. The blockchain executive faces criminal proceedings from both U.S. and South Korean authorities for his role in the Terra Luna implosion and could serve 40 years if convicted, in South Korea alone, before extradition to the United States.
Chinese AI startup reaches unicorn status in less than 100 days
On June 5, Huiwen Wang, co-founder of Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, raised $230 million at a $1 billion valuation for his AI startup Guangnian Zhiwai, or “Lightyears Away.” The round was led by notable Chinese venture capital firm along with Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent. According to media reports, Lightyears Away seeks to become the OpenAI of China, mirroring the success of its American counterpart.
If anything, the raise taught us that ambition and reputation triumph all. The firm achieved its unicorn status just 100 days after its debut and does not appear to have a minimum variable product. In its last update before the fundraising announcement on May 5, the firm is still seeking core front-end and back-end developers and interns.
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