Visa, in collaboration with HSBC and Hang Seng Bank, has successfully completed phase 1 of the Hong Kong digital currency trial. The trial involved tokenized deposits of the digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD) and achieved “near real-time” finality with transfers. The digital HK dollar test pilot was functional 24/7, surpassing the uptime of traditional financial systems. Tokenized deposits can be fully transacted while remaining encrypted, providing better streamlining of operational dependencies and improving liquidity management. Visa plans to explore the use of e-HKD in tokenized asset markets and programmable finance for automating real estate transactions. However, no definite timelines have been given for the full launch of the Hong Kong digital dollar. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has warned about cybersecurity risks associated with a programmable digital currency. Despite these challenges, Hong Kong aims to become a Web3 hub for blockchain in the Asia-Pacific Region.
In other news, Hashkey, one of the first crypto exchanges to receive a regulatory license in Hong Kong, plans to introduce an exchange token called “HashKey EcoPoints” (HSK) in 2024. The token will be minted on Ethereum and distributed as incentives to ecosystem users and distributors. It can be used to settle trading fees and provide early access to future token subscriptions and product upgrades. Hashkey also pledges to buy back HSK tokens with up to 20% of profits generated from related services. However, regulatory approval is still required for the token design plan.
On a different note, nineteen Chinese nationals have been sentenced for their involvement in a $308 million money-laundering scheme using cryptocurrencies. The individuals laundered Bitcoin and Tether for proceeds of crime related to online gambling and wire fraud. They used peer-to-peer transactions and sold coins at unusual prices relative to spot markets to avoid platform monitoring and Know Your Customer requirements. The cash obtained from the scheme was withdrawn from bank counters and transported by plane. The culprits have been sentenced to six months to six years in prison. Wire fraud involving cryptocurrencies has led to a crackdown by China’s Central Government on crypto-related activities in the country.
– Visa, HSBC, and Hang Seng Bank have completed phase 1 of the Hong Kong digital currency trial, achieving near real-time transfers with tokenized deposits of the digital Hong Kong dollar.
– Visa plans to explore the use of the digital currency in tokenized asset markets and programmable finance for real estate transactions.
– Hashkey, a regulated crypto exchange in Hong Kong, will introduce an exchange token called HashKey EcoPoints in 2024, which can be used for trading fees and early access to future token subscriptions.
– Nineteen Chinese nationals have been sentenced for their involvement in a $308 million money-laundering scheme using cryptocurrencies, involving peer-to-peer transactions and cash withdrawals from bank counters.