Chinese investors flock to the ‘Crypto Wild West’
This article is an on-site version of our #techFT newsletter. Sign up here to receive the full newsletter straight to your inbox every day of the week
Decentralized finance takes off in China after Beijing banned investing in cryptocurrency.
China’s campaign against cryptocurrencies led authorities to shut down bitcoin mining operations in May. This coincided with the rise of decentralized finance or DeFi, which allows users to trade with each other without any intermediary, such as a bank or broker, and makes it more difficult to block.
While the toughest enforcement against cryptocurrencies took place in September, China first banned crypto exchanges in 2017, and Chinese users have gradually moved to DeFi. According to Chainalysis, a research firm, China’s share of global bitcoin transactions peaked at 15% in November 2019 and had fallen to 5% by June 2021.
In the 12 months leading up to June, mainland China was associated with $ 256 billion in cryptocurrency activity – the highest in Asia – and 49% of the total was traded through DeFi platforms. Uniswap, one of the major DeFi exchanges, is now the second largest exchange in East Asia in terms of trading volume, Chainalysis said.
As the latest restrictions deter new blood from entering the crypto markets, experts say some existing cryptocurrency holders are looking to DeFi in order to continue trading. DeFi protocols do not have the same âknow your customerâ obligations as more tightly regulated conventional exchanges.
Chainanlysis found that countries with historically large institutional investors armed with large crypto wallets – including the United States, China, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom – played an outsized role in DeFi. Large owners of crypto assets are drawn to DeFi because it allows them to earn income from their coins. Users lend their crypto to DeFi protocols to provide liquidity pools for peer-to-peer lending. In return, investors receive a portion of the transaction fees or token rewards.
But industry insiders warn that stricter regulation on DeFi is likely to come to the United States, which could introduce KYC obligations that would make it more difficult for Chinese users to register new accounts.
Read the full story here.
The Internet of (five) things
1. Clean up the âfrat boyâ culture of the game
Activision Blizzard, the $ 60 billion gaming giant behind Call of Duty and Candy Crush, has laid off 20 employees in an attempt to clean up its culture following allegations of widespread gender discrimination and harassment. In a letter sent to staff on Tuesday, the company said it had also reprimanded 20 people and would expand its ethics and compliance team, which is tasked with creating a “more responsible workplace.” In August, hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees marched in protest after management dismissed a California state lawsuit calling a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ culture” “irresponsible” and ‘”inaccurate”.
2. Facebook opts for a third-party coin for its digital currency wallet
Facebook launched a long-awaited pilot of its Novi digital currency wallet in the United States and Guatemala, but opted to use the Paxos Dollar stablecoin after its own cryptocurrency Diem failed to gain support. regulators. Users will be able to download the app on iPhone or Android, register with government-issued ID, and transfer money between wallets for free. Coinbase, the US cryptocurrency exchange, provides custody services to Novi.
3. The squid game for submarines
The booming success of Squid Game has helped Netflix double the number of new subscribers from the previous year, beating expectations and signaling a stronger year-end with the release of a slew of new movies and shows from. television. The South Korean hit drama, released in September, was the video streaming service’s biggest series launch, reaching more than 142 million viewers worldwide. Netflix forecast it will add 8.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of this year, above the 8.33 million expected by Wall Street, and reach 18.4 million new viewers for the year. Most new subscribers grew outside the United States, with the Asia Pacific region contributing 2.2 million new net paying subscribers.
4. Jack Ma’s vacation in Spain
Alibaba founder Jack Ma is on vacation in Spain, marking the Chinese internet mogul’s first confirmed trip out of China since clashing with the country’s financial regulators at the end of the year last. Ma has only made a handful of low-key appearances in China since the initial public offering of Ant Group, its online funding platform, was blocked by President Xi Jinping in November, shortly. after the mogul publicly criticized Chinese financial regulators in a speech.
5. WeWork goes public
WeWork will finally make its public debut after the approval of a $ 9 billion merger by shareholders of a blank check company, ending the real estate group’s tumultuous two-year journey to go public. Shareholders of BowX Acquisition, a listed ad hoc acquisition company, or Spac, voted on Tuesday in favor of its deal with WeWork, allowing the provider of shared office space to trade on the New York Stock Exchange from Thursday. under the WE ticker. WeWork becomes a public company with a much more humble profile than when it first attempted in 2019, and its $ 9 billion valuation is a fraction of the $ 47 billion that SoftBank valued the company in over months of investment. before its failed IPO.
The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones launched yesterday received positive reviews. The handsets will run on Google’s custom Tensor chip, moving away from Qualcomm’s SoS (system on a chip) found in most Android handsets. Tensor enables new phone features like speech recognition and translation, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Guardian writes that the phone “aims to beat the competition in terms of camera and performance while slashing it in terms of price.” Reviewers liked the range of matte color finishes and the high-end cameras. The company says its cameras improve on existing photographic technology by capturing various skin tones, correcting the bias toward lighter skin. Built-in AI tools also allow users to erase unwanted objects from photos and fix blurry faces. The phones come with wireless charging and an on-screen fingerprint reader, features that are usually only found on more expensive handsets.
The Pixel 6 will retail for Â£ 599 / $ 599, which is at least Â£ 170 cheaper than the new iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, while the Pixel Pro will sell for Â£ 849 / $ 899.
Recommended newsletters for you
#techAsia – Your guide to the billions won and lost in the world of Asia Tech. register here
#fintechFT – The latest news on the most pressing issues in the tech industry. register here