Aping out the gorilla token, digital dollar Biden, his time… and more
This weekly round-up of news from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong seeks to curate the most important industry news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape and corporate blockchain integrations.
Memecoin culture clash
Feed Every Gorilla (FEG) was a source of drama after memes about Chinese President Xi Jinping were released. The token claims to use its earnings to care for gorillas and has garnered attention among animal-related tokens, reaching a market cap of over $1 billion. Some Chinese community members found the memes offensive and began abandoning the project after failing to find support from the team. The incident went viral and Chinese centralized exchanges, including OKEx and Gate.io, responded by delisting the token. FEG’s price fell about 75% before recovering slightly on Thursday.
The community has been divided, with one side claiming Chinese censorship is being imposed on the cryptocurrency community. Most likely, the decision to delist the token was out of caution rather than outrage, as cryptocurrency exchanges operating in a legal gray area often find it beneficial not to be associated with scandals and controversy.
Digital Yuan vs. Digital Dollar
Algorand on Thursday uploaded a webinar on China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) advances. Hosted by China’s blockchain-based services network, the event included Algorand Foundation CEO Sean Lee, Tezos’ David Shin and ConsenSys’ Charles d’Haussy. All panelists were positive about the approach China has taken with CBDCs, focusing on the marketing and incentives that have led to pilots being launched with banks, corporations and tech companies across the region.
Discussing the challenges of adopting a CBDC, the panelists also contrasted the public style of developing the digital yuan with that of the United States. Shin suggested that despite the lack of publicity, the Joe Biden administration was briefed on other nations’ progress in this area, and he hinted that the US might not be as passive as it seems. The US dollar has a strong position against other national currencies, allowing the US more flexibility and patience when adopting new technologies as there is less pressure to make the first move. On the other hand, China has much more to gain from increasing the use of the yuan in international scenarios.
As Cointelegraph reported, Alipay also allows users to participate in CBDC testing. The financial services app played an early role in testing, but this is one of the first indications that retail users could soon get their hands on the digital yuan right from the app. On Thursday, Cointelegraph also reported that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority gave the green light to continue testing the digital yuan for cross-border payments.
Babel Completes $40M Round
Babel Finance, one of the largest crypto institutions in China, announced the completion of its $40 million Series A fundraising round. The company provides lending, trading and other financial services to institutions and high-net-worth individuals, making it an important part of China’s investment ecosystem. The round included contributions from Zoo Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Dragonfly Capital, BAI Capital and Tiger Global Management.
Unbank the Banked
Major trading institution China Citic Bank announced that accounts at the bank could not be used to trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). It listed a number of reasons, including protection against money laundering, defense of the yuan’s status as legal tender, and protection of social public property rights.