An unnamed individual in China recently faced a hefty fine of 1.06 million yuan ($144,907) for using a virtual private network (VPN) to access restricted websites as part of their remote work routine. This individual, who worked as a consultant between 2019 to 2022, utilized a VPN to access platforms such as GitHub, Zoom, and Twitter. Unfortunately, Chinese law strictly prohibits the use of VPNs to bypass the country’s “Great Firewall” that blocks popular sites like Google and Facebook. This ruling has raised concerns among many in China’s IT and Web3 communities who heavily rely on VPNs for similar remote work tasks.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Hong Kong police have detained 15 individuals connected to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange JPEX. The police have received over 2,392 complaints, totaling a loss of 1.5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($191.6 million), pointing to an apparent Ponzi scheme. Since the start of the investigation, the police have already seized HK$8 million ($1 million) in cash and frozen bank accounts worth HK$77 million ($10 million) that are suspected of being proceeds of crime. Prior to its downfall, JPEX was heavily marketed across Hong Kong, with corporate ads displayed in various public spaces. This incident has the potential to be the worst Ponzi scheme in Hong Kong’s history in terms of monetary loss.
Despite falling victim to a $70 million wallet hack allegedly orchestrated by North Korea’s Lazarus Group, Hong Kong crypto exchange CoinEx has announced that it will resume its services. CoinEx claims to have resumed deposits and withdrawals for 190 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, USD Coin, and Tether. The exchange underwent a system update, where all crypto asset deposit addresses were updated to render the old addresses invalid. Although the hack resulted in a significant loss, CoinEx clarified that the incident did not affect their cold wallets and that the CoinEx User Asset Security Foundation would bear the financial losses. The exchange has also offered a generous bounty for the return of stolen funds.
Chinese tech conglomerate Alibaba has expressed its interest in launching its own wallet service. Through its subsidiary Alibaba Cloud, the company has partnered with crypto custodian Cobo to develop an enterprise wallet-as-a-service solution. This collaboration aims to integrate crypto wallets into software through APIs and SDKs, providing developers and organizations with enhanced security, performance, and accessibility for digital wallet infrastructure in Web3. With partnerships already established with over 500 institutions, Cobo brings its expertise in custodial wallets and multi-party computation technology to build the Alibaba Cloud wallet. This move further solidifies Alibaba’s focus on embracing the potential of blockchain and digital assets.
East Asia continues to witness significant developments in the technology and cryptocurrency sectors. From China’s crackdown on VPN usage to Hong Kong’s Ponzi scheme investigation, these events demonstrate the challenges and opportunities present in the region’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. Despite setbacks such as wallet hacks, exchanges like CoinEx persevere and resume their services while adopting enhanced security measures. Meanwhile, tech giants like Alibaba look to leverage blockchain technology to offer innovative solutions like their enterprise wallet-as-a-service. As technology continues to reshape East Asia’s economic and social landscape, these developments highlight both the potential and risks involved in embracing the digital revolution.