Filecoin staking platform busted, Matrixport says ‘short ETH’: Asia Express


Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Chinese police bust another crypto project

Funds are missing from Filecoin liquid staking protocol STFIL after an investigation by Chinese police. 

“We believe that the STFIL core technical team is under investigation by local Chinese police,” said STFIL developers in an April 9 tweet, “We understand lawyers have been hired to understand the current situation and provide legal assistance to the individuals under detention.”

Despite assurances, however, users’ staked Filecoin on STFIL were moved to an unknown address while the protocol’s staff were detained, which also coincided with several “abnormal, unscheduled upgrades.” Blockchain data indicate that over 4.3 million FIL tokens, worth around $40 million at the time of publication, have been transferred to an unknown address. 

Meanwhile, data from DeFi Llamashowsthat the protocol’s total value locked has fallen from $95 million to $55 million in the past month. Law enforcement in the country typically target crypto projects they believe have either bridged or processed tainted money as a result of illegal operations.

Prior to its collapse, STFIL offered users up to 9% yield per annum by staking their Filecoin and receiving investment proceeds generated from their collateral. The STFIL pool was the second largest Filecoin staking protocol at the time of incident with around 2,500 users. 

This was not the first time Chinese police have shut down a Filecoin protocol. In November 2021, a $55 million Filecoin mining rig was raided by Chinese authorities over allegations of operating a multi-level marketing scheme and money laundering.

In the past year, Chinese authorities have increasingly cracked down on crypto projects operating in the country, often causing collateral damage for foreign users of such protocols. Last year, cross-chain bridge Multichain was shut down after Chinese police detained its CEO, Zhaojun He, under mysterious circumstances. Investors’ losses on the protocol have been estimated to be over $1.5 billion

The STFIL interface is still functional despite a police heist.
The STFIL interface is still functional despite a police heist.

HashKey expands to retail investors

HashKey Capital, a major institutional digital asset manager based in Hong Kong, has received an upgrade on April 11 to its licensing conditions enabling it to offer services to retail investors. Previously it could only service professional clients.

Deng Chao, Head of HashKey Singapore and CEO of HashKey Capital, said the approval is an opportunity for Hong Kong retail investors to access regulated fund products in the digital asset market.

Since its inception, HashKey Capital has managed over $1 billion in client assets and the company recently secured a partnership with Bosera International, paving the way for digital asset products, such as spot ETFs, for Hong Kong residents.

HashKey Exchange is one of only two approved crypto exchanges in Hong Kong for retail trading, the other being OSL. Earlier this week, following Coinbase’s footsteps, HashKey Group opened an exchange in Bermuda dubbed “Hashkey Global” with over 20 coins and tokens available for trading.

HashKey COO Livio Wang (Right)
HashKey COO Livio Wang (Right)

OSL to expand institutional crypto products in Asia 

Speaking of Hong Kong crypto exchange OSL, it will soon expand its institutional crypto products beyond the city.

In an April 10 meeting with analysts, Zhiyong (Patrick) Pan, chairman of OSL Group said that the exchange is eyeing expansion opportunities in the Korean and Japanese markets to accommodate institutional investors. The firm is also seeking to forge local partnerships in East Asian and Southeast Asian markets to enhance business development.

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Highlighting the growing significance of spot Bitcoin ETFs, Pan noted the market has already entered a bullish phase even ahead of the halving. Zhenbang Hu, the group’s CFO, noted a steady rise in virtual asset transactions since last year’s third quarter.

OSL is currently testing an exchange app launch, with the updated version expected by late April or early May. Emphasizing their commitment to the business and consumer markets, Pan stated the firm’s intention to serve more banks and financial institutions while expanding beyond SaaS offerings.

Back in January, Pan told Cointelegraph the firm is currently exploring a Fund Token initiative for the tokenization of retail fund products for investors.

Matrixport recommends Ethereum short 

Singaporean crypto services firm Matrixport is trying its luck at forecasting once more with a recommendation to short Ethereum (ETH) and long Bitcoin (BTC). 

“We had criticized #Ethereum’s upgrade policy before when we analyzed each upgrade’s impact on the price of #ETH,” said the firm in an April 8 tweet. “With the Dencun upgrade out of the way, Ethereum’s dominance has decreased from 19% to 16%. We recommended using ETH as a short (or a hedge) against Bitcoin longs,” the firm wrote.

Amid the bull run, Matrixport has consistently published its predictions regarding possible market directions. In January, when Bitcoin was trading at $40,800 apiece, Matrixport was blamed by investors during a lukewarm market sell-off after warning that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may not approve spot Bitcoin ETFs due to political risk factors. The spot Bitcoin ETFs were subsequently approved by the SEC shortly afterward.

Similarly, on February 28, Matrixport co-founder Daniel Yan warned that a 15% market correction was “imminent” following Bitcoin’s reaching its highest price since 2021. Bitcoin did briefly sell off around 10% on the day of the post but it has since pared losses and made new all-time highs. 

Zhiyuan Sun

Zhiyuan Sun is a journalist at Cointelegraph focusing on technology-related news. He has several years of experience writing for major financial media outlets such as The Motley Fool, and Seeking Alpha.

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