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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Crypto firm Huobi shuts down Thai operations by July 1

Bangkok, Thailand – Cryptocurrency exchange company Huobi has announced that it is shutting down its operations in Thailand by July 1 this year after failing to secure a licence in the country, as well as a new statement from Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission delisting Huobi.

In an online statement, Huobi said that by 1 July, the Thai operations are no longer legally affiliated with the Huobi Group and its affiliates. It also encouraged its local users to withdraw their funds from the exchange.

“Since September 2021, we have been trying to contact all clients to withdraw their assets,” the statement said, while also urging other users to contact the exchange via email or Telegram for refund requests.

According to the newest statement from Thailand’s SEC, Huobi was found to have ‘flawed management structure and system’ between February and March 2021. Which, as per the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission, was not sufficient to ensure compliance with required regulations, leading to its licence suspension’.

“The SEC, at its meeting No. 15/21, held on September 2, 2021, therefore resolved to recommend to the Minister of Finance. to consider revoking the licence to operate a cryptocurrency exchange trading centre and Huobi’s digital token trading centre, and ordered Huobi to suspend its services as a digital asset trading centre,” the SEC statement read.

The update is in line with Thailand’s recent strict guidelines on cryptocurrency use, stating that they are meant to avert potential impacts on the country’s financial stability and economic system.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Coins.ph signs with PBA as exclusive crypto partner

Manila, Philippines – Local crypto and fiat currency wallet services provider Coins.ph has announced a partnership with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as its exclusive cryptocurrency partner in line with the PBA’s upcoming 47th season. This follows Coins.ph’s recent US$30m funding to accelerate investment in its Web3 ecosystem.

Through PBA’s first crypto partnership, Coins.ph will have brand presence featured throughout the Philippine Cup, the PBA’s premier tournament, where it will offer interactive experiences to engage fans and promote awareness of all things crypto. In addition, Coins.ph will make use of the interactive games on selected matches to allow fans to win free crypto, as well as being featured on television ads throughout the season.

Both companies aim to provide economic benefits and promote professional growth opportunities to basketball fans through crypto education and engagement. Coins.ph will use its brand presence to increase public awareness of crypto and explain concepts such as blockchain, NFTs, and Web3 to basketball fans across the nation.

“The PBA is an ideal platform for these educational efforts, with some prominent players already involved in the crypto space. This partnership will extend that empowerment to fans as well,” Coins.ph said in a press statement.

Wei Zhou, CEO of Coins.ph, said, “Basketball plays a very important part in the Filipino culture and that makes it a perfect match for Coins.ph, a proudly home-grown fintech brand in the Philippines. We are very excited to be the exclusive crypto partner of the PBA and look forward to bringing together exciting basketball games with the latest crypto trends.” 

He added, “We have seen a surge in engagement with Web3 in the Philippines and we believe that more and more Filipinos are joining the crypto community. The PBA is a great platform to educate Filipinos on the crypto-economy and we value this opportunity to expand crypto market adoption.”

Meanwhile, Willie O. Marcial, the PBA Commissioner, commented, “The PBA is the 1st professional basketball league in Asia and is already an institution in the country. It is still unparalleled when it comes to professional sports entertainment. And partnering with Coins.ph will surely take the PBA a step further as it continues to improve and strengthen its position as one of the best leagues in the region.” 

He added, “Further, the PBA is all about growth and improvement. Having Coins.ph will give fans the opportunity to engage in a new way and at the same time learn about the crypto community. We are thankful to Coins.ph for choosing us to be their partner, I am sure they will introduce new venues for fun and exciting activities.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s Securities and Exchange Commission team up with Google PH to screen crypto ads

Manila, Philippines – The country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has teamed up with tech giant Google to require advertisers offering cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets targeting the Philippine audience to present proof of their registration and/or license to operate in the country. 

Starting on July 7 this year, the new regulation measures by SEC and Google is part of the commission’s regulatory compliance from entities doing business online in order to protect the investing public and other financial consumers. 

Furthermore, its also adds to Google’s existing policy that requires all advertisers to comply with local laws for any area that their advertisements target. Google will take appropriate action to address any violations.

Emilio B. Aquino, chairperson at SEC, said, “This continuing partnership with Google will help the Commission fulfill its mandate as registrar and overseer of the Philippine corporate sector, as well as protector of the investing public, in the digital age.”

The SEC has consistently reminded the public to be vigilant and exercise due diligence before transacting or dealing with any entity, and those based abroad without any registration or license to do business in the Philippines. 

It has also sought to educate the public on legitimate investment options through investor protection and financial literacy campaigns online. Over the course of the pandemic, the commission has observed that several entities have taken advantage of the online space to spread investment scams supposedly engaged in cryptocurrency trading when in reality, these do not exist.

“We believe the new policy can reduce the number of Filipinos falling prey to unregistered investment schemes online, who are usually victims of aggressive online advertising and intrusive tactics that make them believe in products that are often too good to be true,” Aquino stated.

As the national government regulatory agency tasked with supervising the corporate sector, entities doing business in the Philippines must first register with the SEC, in general. Meanwhile, operators of cryptocurrency exchanges must register with the BSP as remittance and transfer companies, pursuant to BSP Circular No. 944 issued February 6, 2017. 

Discussions with Google PH started in 2019 to counter the increase of unregistered personal loan apps in the country. This year, Google has revised its policy for personal loan apps targeting users in the Philippines, requiring them to submit a Personal Loan App Declaration and other necessary documents before they could publish apps on Google Play. Failure to provide such documents will lead to the personal loan app’s removal from Google Play.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Hong Kong Gen X citizens most likely to own cryptocurrency: report

Hong Kong — Hong Kong has been at the forefront of uncertain sovereign issues, and like countries under such a critical situation, some of its citizens have resorted to investing into alternative assets as a hedge against inflation or subsiding of centralized finance. According to a key finding from a report entitled ‘The Future of Financial Services Report 2022’ by YouGov, most citizens are aware of the existence of cryptocurrency, or 3 out of 5 Hongkongers, but only 20% actually own cryptocurrency.

On the other hand, other key findings from the report reveal that the underlying reason for owning cryptocurrency is most likely as a form of investment. Additionally, Bitcoin, the undisputed forerunner of cryptocurrency, is the most widely owned asset. It is most most popular with Gen X at 71% ownership. Additionally, those ages 55 years old and above are less than likely to be aware of cryptocurrency, with half of them stating they’ve never heard of it.

The report notes that citizens ages 35-44 in Hong Kong are most likely to own cryptocurrency, at 32%, followed by ages 18-34 at ownership rate of 28%. Those in ages 45-54 years old say only 20% of them own crypto, while only 6% of citizens ages 55 years old and above own the asset.

For the top three benefits of cryptocurrency, 70% said it is for investment; 27% reported as convenient way to transfer money; and 20% claimed they used it as a cash to purchase products.

Finally, the top three cryptocurrencies owned by Hongkongers are Bitcoin at 59%, Ethereum at 39%, and Dogecoin at 22%. Hongkongers aged 45-54 are more likely to own Bitcoin, while those aged 35-44 are more likely to own Ethereum. Surprisingly, Hongkongers aged 35-44 are more likely to own the popular meme coin, Dogecoin. 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Thai-based Athena Mentor introduces crypto-based ‘mentor-to-earn’ platform

Bangkok, Thailand – Local blockchain startup Athena Mentor has introduced its cryptocurrency-based ‘mentor-to-earn’ platform, where users can transform their contributed wisdom in the platform into crypto tokens, with the goal of distributing skills and experience from mentors to mentees worldwide.

To build the wisdom mining protocol, Athena constructed a one-on-one video conference platform that rewards those who participate with our new Athena tokens. Anyone can use the platform and it is free to get started. The company plans to reach 100,000 users by the year end and a million by the end of next year.

Paramee Intarachumnum, product lead at Athena Mentor, says, “Research on mentorships from Sun Microsystems indicates that those who have mentors are promoted five times faster than those who don’t. Nevertheless, workers face two major obstacles to establishing a fruitful mentorship experience: access and sustainability. Not only will we help solve the problem of mentor access, but we also ensure sustainability via the use of tokenomics. Ultimately, the exchange of skills, knowledge, and wisdom that Athena enables will help democratise wisdom worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Viriya Reungwai, technology lead at Athena Mentor, commented, “Athena Mentor is only the starting point of our whole vision to democratise wisdom across the planet. Our long-term goal is to democratise wisdom across many areas, including hiring and coaching. Right now, however, our focus is on building the platform infrastructure, which is a blockchain-based economy allowing us to serve as the bridge from Web2 to Web3.”

Reungwai added, “First, users who hold and stake our Athena tokens will be able to access premium services and events exclusive only to token holders. Second, the mentoring fee will be lowered for token holders. Lastly, to fulfil the promise of mentor-to-earn, we will partner with other entities to enable the exchange of Athena tokens for fiat currencies, other cryptocurrencies, and goods and services.”

To celebrate the launch of the world’s first mentor-to-earn platform, users who join Athena will receive three times the usual number of Athena tokens on all their activities from today until 31 May.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Gulf Energy announces establishment of digital asset exchange business with Binance

Bangkok, Thailand – Gulf Energy, a national electric power generation company, has announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global cryptocurrency exchange Binance in establishing a digital asset exchange business.

As part of the MoU, Gulf Energy has also announced that it will be investing in Binance’s cryptocurrency coin BNB. The announcement by Gulf Energy to enter into the cryptocurrency business was made during the company’s recent regulatory filings with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

“The company believes that this multi-level cooperation with Binance, which is the global leader in blockchain infrastructure technology, is aligned with the company’s target to be the leader in digital infrastructure while providing further opportunities for the Company to expand into other digital asset-related initiatives in the future,” Gulf Energy said in the regulatory filing.

In addition, Gulf Energy has announced that it has invested in a series seed preferred stock issued by BAM Trading Services Inc., the operator of a regulated digital asset exchange in the USA under the name Binance.US.

Gulf Energy’s venture into cryptocurrency is announced despite recent regulatory changes from the Thai government regarding the use of cryptocurrency and digital assets as means of payment.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

MetaBomb launches IDO offering

Hanoi, Vietnam – MetaBomb, a play-to-earn game, is launching its IDO in April and dropping a few bombs on the GameFi market in Q2 of 2022. 

According to Binance Academy, IDO is a crypto token offering run on a Decentralized Exchange (DEX). Liquidity pools (LP) play an essential role in IDO’s by creating liquidity post-sale. A typical IDO lets users lock funds in exchange for new tokens during the token generation event. 

MetaBomb is coming closer to the final production stage and with the ideas of GameFi 2.0 in mind, this play to earn game will be the place where players can be immersed in the true potential of a metaverse.

Stepping into the GameFi market in its infancy, MetaBomb Founder Cuong Vu has experienced all its ups and downs. “It is the blooming time of GameFi and blockchain when several big names enter this space.” said Cuong Vu, CEO of MetaBomb.

MTB token is the main in-game currency. It will be used to buy Hero Box, fusion and upgrade Hero level, mainly in the first phase. The player’s income level will change naturally which requires the player to continuously reinvest in the game if they want to keep the income steady.

“The way it operates will unfold soon and promises to amaze many players,” said Vu.

He supplemented that the in-game activities and upgrading systems are tools to ensure steady funding to a balanced and healthy game economy, assuring the sustainable development of the project.

According to MetaBomb, they are currently developing and soon to launch an NFT system that has the ability to store values of assets and resist inflation just like ‘gold’ in the real world. 

The game is designed with a variety of game modes, many types of fee arising from game activities and upgrading items that will help keep the player’s pool reward stable and healthy.

Southeast Asia and South America are the go-to-markets for MetaBomb to acquire established play-to-earn game lovers. MetaBomb would later expand its marketing activities to North America, Europe, and East Asia.

The game’s Testnet version will be released on the BNB chain in April 2022.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Charles & Keith jumps into metaverse, joins virtual fashion week

Singapore — Fashion company Charles & Keith has announced several developments in its efforts to embrace the metaverse. The company unveiled it will join the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) hosted on the 3D world browser-based platform Decentraland from 24-27 March 2022. The brand has also partnered with crypto payments platform TripleA to launch a cryptocurrency enabled payment method on its e-commerce site.

The Charles & Keith booth in the MVFW festivities in Decentraland will be open to fashion fans until April 14. There, they can check out the booth with its different digital representations of Charles & Keith’s icon of the season: the candy-coloured Koa shoulder bag, and playful tie-up Alex sandals. Avatars can explore the pop-up to view the Spring 2022 campaign video and try on digital wearables akin to a physical store experience. Guests also have the option to click through to the fashion company’s website to purchase physical products of what their avatars are wearing.

To kick off MVFW, Charles & Keith will welcome the first 1000 avatars to visit the booth with complimentary Koa bag and Alex sandals wearables. Back in the real world, twenty exclusive micro Koa bags are also up for grabs. Fans simply have to take a screenshot of their avatar at the CHARLES & KEITH booth and post it on Instagram or Twitter to stand a chance to win the limited-edition accessory.

In the vein of embracing this new digital era, Charles & Keith is also one of the pioneer fashion brands to offer cryptocurrency as a transaction mode on its e-commerce platform. This new service caters to customers who own cryptocurrency and are seeking additional channels where they can purchase goods and services using their investments. Customers with existing wallets simply have to scan a QR code at checkout to make payment with their cryptocurrency.

The brand’s partnership with TripleA allows its customers to pay using accepted coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether USDT.

This initiative marks the brand’s first foray into digital currencies and will be rolled out in Singapore, the United States, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Europe during the initial launch phase in H1 2022.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Third of Singaporeans think cash is best performing investment in 2022

Singapore – A third of Singaporeans think cash will be the best performing investment in 2022, making it the top pick ahead of stocks, property, and cryptocurrency, according to a report by comparison platform Finder.

About 1,136 Singaporean adults and 39,573 adults globally were surveyed in December 2021, and against the global data, it was found that Singaporeans are the second most likely to back cash out of 26 countries. Only the United States ranks higher at 34%.

The next most popular picks are stocks and property (17% each), followed by cryptocurrency (15%), bonds (7%), NFTs (6%), and commodities (3%).

Finder’s Investment Editor Kylie Purcell said Singaporeans are likely seeing security in cash.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the market at the moment and cash is seen as a safe investment, but people need to consider the inflation-adjusted return. In October inflation rose considerably, with Singapore recording its biggest increase to core inflation in three years,” Purcell said.

“$100 dollars today may only be worth $80 down the track so consumers should be thinking about how they can inflation-proof their portfolios while maintaining liquidity should they need the cash,” Purcell adds.

However, Purcell says that with the MAS tightening its monetary policy, it could be good news for cash savers.

“When central banks look to raise interest rates, it’s typically good news for cash savers, and bad news for other investments like stocks,” Purcell concludes.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Finder launches crypto-centric podcast series ‘Block Climbing’

Sydney, Australia – Global fintech Finder has announced the launch of its cryptocurrency-themed podcast titled ‘Block Climbing’ in a bid to help Australians on their crypto journeys, including demystifying concepts around Web3 and blockchain technology.

The first episode has already been released on 5 March, and focuses on the rise of cryptocurrency amid the Ukrainian crisis, including crypto donation scams and how Russians can bypass financial sanctions through use of cryptocurrency.

According to Finder, the podcast series is a “Crypto Bro”-free zone where beginners, sceptics and everyone in between are welcome to learn, question and have a few laughs along the way.

“From understanding what Web3 actually means to delving into the depths of blockchain true crime, ‘Block Climbing’ is your new go-to source of information on all things crypto and Web3,” the company said in a press statement.

For Tegan Jones, global reviews editor at Finder and co-host of ‘Block Climbing’, the podcast will explore the good, the bad, and the just plain confusing impacts that crypto and Web3 could have on our lives.

“While we’re fascinated by crypto, we know there is a lot of unexplained jargon that can make the space seem intimidating. I think people are tired of being told to just “do their own research” because it can be hard to know where to start so we want ‘Block Climbing’ to be the place to get your questions answered in everyday language,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Tim Bennett, publisher at Finder and co-host of ‘Block Climbing’, said that this podcast will be a fun and accessible way into crypto and Web3 content.

“There’s no doubt that blockchain is an interesting technology but there are still some questions to be answered about it. We’re excited to build a community where we can have these conversations in an informative and critical way that is super beginner friendly,” Bennett said.

In upcoming episodes the duo will be looking at North Korean crypto hackers, what Web3 actually means, whether crypto can ever be green and the unsolved mystery of Bitcoin’s origin story, as well as hearing from a few expert guests.

Chris Ellis, CEO of Finder Australia, said launching a podcast aimed at demystifying the world of Web3 made perfect sense for Finder.

“We believe that an understanding of these emerging technologies is critical for Australians looking to benefit from new finance spaces like cryptocurrency. Being able to break down complex topics is at the core of what we do at Finder so I’m very proud to be supporting a podcast like ‘Block Climbing’ to make areas like crypto and Web3 more accessible for everyone,” Ellis concluded.

The first episode of ‘Block Climbing’ is available now on all major podcast platforms, with the next episode set to drop on 16 March, as new episodes will be released fortnightly on Wednesdays.