Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.
JPEX scandal grows to over $166M
Last week’s Token2049 conference in Singapore was a life-changing experience for some; for others, the event did not meet expectations — but for a select group of individuals, the imminent prospect of being pursued by law enforcement meant they had to abandon their booths and flee the event.
On Sept. 21, local news outlets reported that Hong Kong police had arrested 11 individuals linked to troubled cryptocurrency exchange JPEX on charges of fraud and operating an unlicensed virtual assets exchange. More than 2,000 users are estimated to have been affected, with $1.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($166 million) involved. Police allege users’ assets have been embezzled by JPEX staff.
In a dramatic raid on Sept. 13 — day one of the conference — Hong Kong police arrested key JPEX executives, leading staff to abandon its corporate booth. The exchange subsequently applied for voluntary deregistration with the Australia Securities & Investment Commission, disclosing that its Australian entity had little assets left. After the news broke, JPEX reportedly raised its withdrawal fees to 999 USDT per transaction to prevent capital flight.
In an announcement on Sept. 20, JPEX said that 400 million Tether (USDT) worth of users’ deposits would be eligible for redemption. However, the catch is that the funds can only be redeemed starting in late 2025. The firm stated that due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, its telecom service providers and asset custodians have frozen applicable services.
JPEX booth advertisement posted the day before the exchange was raided by police. (Facebook)
In a press conference, John Lee, the chief executive of Hong Kong, said, “This incident highlights the importance that when investors want to invest in virtual assets, then they must invest on platforms that are licensed.” Founded in 2019, JPEX…