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New Zealand Launches Consultation on Digital Cash and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)

On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand launched a consultation on digital cash, seeking feedback from citizens on its design, interest payment, and holding limits. The central bank is considering a $2000 holding limit, similar to the digital Euro's benchmark. The consultation paper stated that digital cash could offer more payment options, be easily accessible, and support innovation, while also boosting competition in New Zealand's payments landscape. The country's CBDC is still in the multi-stage and multi-year process, and the consultation closes on July 26.

Jury begins deliberations in Mango Markets fraud trial

The fate of New York cryptocurrency trader Avi Eisenberg is now in the hands of 12 New York jurors, whose task is to determine whether his trades on Mango Markets in October 2022 (earning him $110 million) were fair play or fraud.

Hong Kong Bitcoin, Ethereum spot or futures ETF related products are temporarily not open to mainland investors

According to Beijing Business Daily, products related to Bitcoin, Ethereum spot ETFs, or Bitcoin and Ethereum futures ETFs are not currently open to mainland investors. Southern Dongying stated that as more market participants enter, the demand for Bitcoin futures ETFs in Hong Kong, China is expected to further increase, and the scale and trading volume will further increase. The reduction in Bitcoin supply will further increase the Bitcoin price, drive market positive sentiment, and further increase demand for Bitcoin futures ETFs. Southern Dongying also mentioned that its subsidiary funds are not directly or indirectly sold to legal persons or natural persons in mainland China, nor are they sold for their interests. In addition, legal persons or natural persons in mainland China may not directly or indirectly purchase Southern Dongying's Bitcoin futures ETF or Southern Dongying's Ethereum futures ETF without obtaining all necessary government approvals in advance.

New Stablecoin Bill Introduced in US Senate to Regulate Dollar-Pegged Digital Assets

Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand have proposed a new bill that aims to establish definitions for dollar-pegged digital assets and their issuers. The bill mandates that payment stablecoin issuers meet reserve and operational requirements, including creating subsidiaries specifically for issuing stablecoins. Additionally, stablecoin issuers must deal in dollar-backed tokens and ensure their tokens are fully backed by reserve assets. The proposed legislation seeks to define how stablecoins will operate in the US and would prohibit algorithmic stablecoins. There are ongoing discussions about attaching stablecoin legislation to a must-pass bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, and Senator Sherrod Brown has indicated that specific safeguards must be included for the legislation to move forward.

HKMA issues distributed ledger technology guidance to banks

Hong Kong Monetary Authority has issued guidelines to local banks on the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and support for the development of Hong Kong's virtual asset ecosystem, in order to support banks in using DLT in a risk-controlled manner. Through clarifying the main regulatory considerations of the Authority, it aims to further promote the wider application of DLT in the industry, including establishing appropriate governance, ensuring the design suitability of DLT application projects, and continuous maintenance and supervision of DLT projects. In order to accommodate the diverse development of technology and the market, the Authority will continue to maintain close communication with the industry and support the orderly development of Hong Kong's virtual asset ecosystem in a risk-controlled manner.

South Korea, Japan and Singapore regulators may follow Hong Kong’s lead in approving spot Bitcoin ETFs

After Hong Kong's regulatory agency's principle approval of Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs, other Asian regulatory agencies may also take similar actions. South Korea, Japan, and Singapore may follow Hong Kong in approving virtual asset ETFs. Karim Saber, a research assistant at cryptocurrency ETP issuer 21Shares, stated that South Korea's opposition party, which supports Bitcoin, won in the April elections, which could lead to regulatory agencies approving Bitcoin ETFs as early as this year. Tim Bevan, CEO of cryptocurrency ETP issuer ETC Group, expects that Japan and South Korea may approve such products within the next 6 to 12 months.

The Russian Central Bank supports the use of cryptocurrencies for international settlements and plans to promote the formulation of relevant bills

According to Bitcoin.com, Russia supports expanding the types of currencies and payment methods for international settlements. Last week, the Governor of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, stated that the bank will support the acceleration of a bill that supports the use of cryptocurrencies for international payments. However, Nabiullina emphasized that these payments should be introduced under an experimental sandbox legal framework.It is reported that the institution has always opposed the circulation and use of cryptocurrencies for national payments because these assets are not controlled by national regulatory agencies. However, the country's central bank is open to its use for foreign settlements. In contrast, the use of national digital assets (also known as CBDC) for payments has been explored without any exploratory sandbox.

Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission: We believe that fund companies applying for virtual asset ETFs will submit applications to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange next

Some fund companies have expressed that they have received conditional and principle approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission for virtual asset spot ETFs. When queried by Hong Kong media, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission stated that investment products recognized by the Commission will be listed on the list of publicly available investment products on its website. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission further pointed out that if the applied ETF product roughly meets the Commission's requirements, a conditional authorization will be issued, but various conditions must still be followed, including paying relevant fees, submitting documents, and obtaining approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for listing. It is believed that the fund companies that have applied will submit their applications to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for the next step.

Hong Kong citizens can directly use their securities accounts to purchase spot BTC and ETH without opening an account on an exchange

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has approved at least three fund companies to collaborate with licensed exchanges, allowing citizens to purchase spot Bitcoin and Ethereum with securities accounts. Currently, investors who want to buy virtual currencies need to open an account at a virtual currency exchange. Multiple fund companies have announced that they have obtained licenses from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and are collaborating with two licensed exchanges on the market to launch virtual asset fund products, which means that citizens can directly use securities accounts to purchase spot Bitcoin and Ethereum without the need to open an account at an exchange. Some industry insiders believe that this measure will help promote the development of virtual asset trading and increase tax revenue.

Nebraska man arrested for stealing computing power to mine $1 million worth of cryptocurrency

The US Department of Justice has accused 45-year-old Charles O. Parks III of stealing cloud computing services worth $3.5 million and mining cryptocurrency worth $1 million through a so-called "cryptojacking" scheme. Cryptojacking involves using someone else's computing power to mine cryptocurrency for oneself. According to official government information, Parks is suspected of defrauding two "well-known" cloud computing providers, engaging in telecommunications fraud, money laundering, and illegal currency transactions. Parks will make his first appearance in federal court on April 16 and was initially arrested in Nebraska on April 13.