According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a 24-year-old man is said to have tossed bank notes from the top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong, triggering agitation from passersby below.

The man, who was identified as Wong Ching Kit (with aliases such as “Mr. Coin” and “Coin Master”) is the owner of Coin’s Group and Epoch Cryptocurrency, a Facebook page that provides promotions for cryptocurrencies and miners. Kit is said to be a crypto enthusiast who made a large percentage of his fortune in last year’s cryptocurrency boom.

A Facebook Live Video which captured the occurrence showed the crowd rushing to catch HK$100 ($13) notes as they rained down from a building in the Fuk Wa neighborhood, one of the countries most impoverished areas. Kit is said to have been raising awareness for an upcoming event, choosing to take a somewhat unconventional approach to market.

While he was tossing the bills from the top of the building, the video recorded Kit telling bystanders:

“Today, December 15, is FCC’s big day in announcing the trading race. I hope everyone here will pay attention to this important event… [I] don’t know whether any of you will believe money can fall from the sky.”

Although it still remains unclear who- or what- he referred to as the FCC in his declaration, a Facebook video was released shortly after the stunt where he declared that he was similar to the fictional character Robin Hood, telling anyone who cares to listen that he was “robbing the rich to give to the poor.”. The “Coin Master” also claimed that he felt it was his responsibility to teach the world about Bitcoin.

Image from the Facebook video.

His “charitable” action triggered a mass reaction, as passersby began to scamper in a bid to catch the bills that were falling from the air.

The police claimed that he was arrested on charges of “disorderly conduct in a public place,” and they have also urged members of the public who were beneficiaries of his lawlessness to return the bills to where they got them. Luk Wai-hung, a local attorney, argued that while his motives for raising advertisement were understandable, his approach was the reason why he was arrested.

He said, “How did he do his promotion? He wanted to create chaos to do it.” He also added that the maximum penalty for his offense is a 12-month prison term and a fine of HK$5,000. Innocent bystanders at the location attested to the total amount of money that was thrown away could be millions, although the police reported that they were only able to recover HK$5,000 (the equivalent of $639) from the streets.

A supposed Bitcoin (BTC) millionaire has been arrested in Hong Kong after “making it rain cash” on the streets, local English-language news outlet the Shanghaiist reported on Dec. 17.

On Sunday, a swathe of 100-Hong Kong dollar bills were thrown off a roof in Sham Shui Po, one of the poorest Hong Kong neighborhoods. Wong Ching-kit, a local cryptocurrency enthusiast, purported Bitcoin millionaire, and entrepreneur who owns the Epoch Cryptocurrency website, is reportedly believed to be responsible for the stunt.

In a video posted on Epoch’s Facebook page, he is seen asking “does anyone believe that money can fall from the sky?” before money starts falling from a high building behind him.

The description of the video details a competition wherein participants can allegedly win large cash prizes. In another video Ching-kit reportedly describes himself inside a luxury car as some kind of “god” that “steals from the rich and gives to the poor.”

According to Shanghaiist, the man was subsequently arrested by local police, reportedly before performing another publicity stunt. Shanghaiist reports that he was detained for “disorderly conduct in a public place” while live-streaming with a stack of cash in his hand.

Leo Weese, a member of the local crypto community, tweeted that Ching-kit is not a Bitcoin millionaire but is instead “running a pyramid-like scheme.” The police reportedly claim to have only recovered 6,000 Hong Kong dollars ($767) while “a popular Twitter post claims, unreasonably, that ‘100’s of millions of HKD’ was dropped from the rooftop.”

In May 2018, organizers of a blockchain conference in China were subjected to harsh criticism after they arranged a performance including a Mao Zedong impersonator. An actor dressed in a grey Mao suit gave a speech in the style of the Chairman, wishing success to the audience in an accent from Mao’s birth province of Hunan, declaring:

“You are worthy of being called the great sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and I thank you in the name of Mao Zedong.”

The organizers reportedly broke a law prohibiting the use of the image of any past or present leader in promotional activities and television advertisements.

Earlier that same month, a Ukrainian initial coin offering (ICO) publicity stunt on Mount Everest resulted in the death of a sherpa. Social network ASKfm sponsored “crypto enthusiasts” to climb Mount Everest and place a Ledger wallet holding 500,000 in ASKfm tokens at the peak. The sherpa died during the descent.

A research report by the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX) argued that fintech firms using cryptocurrency should be subjected “to the governance by the Securities Law”.

HKEX Finds Risks In Large-Scale Deployment of Blockchain In Securities Industry

The stock exchange of Hong Kong, Asia’s third-largest operator by market cap, published a report on fintech applications and related regulatory framework. Focusing on blockchain and AI applications in the securities industry, the paper explored how they could be integrated into trading, clearing, settlement, and regulation, in a feasible way.

The exchange’s Chief China Economist’s Office and Innovation Lab discussed how blockchain is regulated differently in different jurisdictions and found that the “principle of consistency requires that […] the issuance of digital currencies and digital funds must be governed under the existing securities regulatory framework”.

“The public fund-raising activities of shares issuance by issuers — which do so with merely a prospectus published on the Internet but without any underwriter nor compliance with the IPO registration procedures or strict disclosure requirements — must be rectified by subjecting them to the governance by the Securities Law.”

The report also found challenges for blockchain in private equity markets from a legal compliance perspective as e-certificates of ownership need to be approved by regulators as well as legal departments.

“To recognize equity rights and other corporate operations, regulators may need the help of multiple centers to enable related authoritative entities to participate in the blockchain for exercising their respective responsibilities and at the same time to enable information transparency and timely sharing.”

The authors also show concern about the risks of a large scale deployment of blockchain in the securities industry.

“As each node has a ledger of the whole chain, any successful hacking will not only expose data of the hacked node to theft but also expose all data in the full ledger to potential replication.”

As to the applications of blockchain in the securities industry, the document explained that its distributed, decentralized, encrypted, extensible, and programmable nature, have the potential of being used in post-trade clearing and settlement, as well as asset rehypothecation and in the private equity market.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange was recently on the news after Bitmain, one of the largest players in the crypto mining industry, filing for an initial public offering on the exchange and disclosing $2.5 billion revenue in 2017 alone, as well as gross profit of $1.2 billion and cryptocurrency holdings of approximately $105 million in cash.

The real estate market of Hong Kong is said to be one of the most expensive in the world, alongside New York, London, and Sydney. Yet, crypto startups are moving into the most valuable skyscrapers in the city.

On August 22, CCN reported that BitMEX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates Bitcoin and Ethereum margin trading, moved its headquarters to Cheung Kong Center’s 45th floor, renting out 20,000 square feet at $28.66 per square foot.

Its old headquarters were based in Victoria Harbor, a region within Hong Kong that is known for expensive residential properties. In Victoria Harbor, BitMEX paid around $3.18 per square foot and in Cheung Kong Center, BitMEX is paying $573,200 per month, at a rate of $28.66 per square foot.

BitMEX will operate its office in the most valuable skyscraper with Hong Kong alongside major financial institutions such as Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Banks are Moving Out of Skyscrapers

According to a report released by SCMP, a mainstream media outlet in Hong Kong, even major banks like Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas have started to explore cheaper locations for their offices in Hong Kong due to rising rental fees.

Annual office rental costs in Hong Kong Central average around US$307 per square foot a year, a rate that easily surpasses London’s West End and Beijing’s Finance Street.

BitMEX and Diginex Global, two crypto startups based in Hong Kong, are renting out 72,000 square feet in total, paying around $1.3 million per month.

“Blockchain companies show no signs of slowing their expansion in Hong Kong. These firms are leasing space in top-tier office buildings to attract and retain talent.” Philip Pang, an associate director of office services at Colliers, told SCMP.

The local publication reported that Goldman Sachs is relocating from Hong Kong Central to Causeway Bay in the next few months to save 30 percent on rent. BNP Paribas has also relocated its office to Swire Properties’ Taikoo Place.

While JPMorgan has leased the Quayside in Kwun Tong near Victoria Harbor, the cost of rent comes nowhere close to the rent BitMEX will be paying throughout the years to come.

Landlords Not Confident in Crypto

Over the past nine months, despite the 80 percent drop in the valuation of the crypto market, cryptocurrency-related businesses have prospered. Specifically, exchanges have continued to generate large revenues.

However, local publications have reported that Cheung Kong Center demanded BitMEX to pay a year’s rent upfront, which is estimated to be around $6.8 million, demonstrating the lack of confidence in crypto-related businesses by major landlords in the Hong Kong real estate market.

“It’s pretty common for landlords to ask for larger deposits from tenants with weaker covenant strength. Landlords are always open to taking on new tenants, it’s just a matter of balancing rent against flight risk,” said Denis Ma, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

With the one year’s rent at Cheung Kong Center, it is possible to purchase multiple story buildings in many major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Min, Tokyo, and Busan.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School has received a $20 million research grant to improve the security capabilities of electronic payment systems, China News reported August 12.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School has reportedly partnered with the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) to work on the research project.

Apart from the enhancement of the electronic payment security system, the parties will also explore blockchain technology applications, and discuss the possibility of Hong Kong’s transformation into a global financial technology hub.

The interdisciplinary research will reportedly be coordinated by professor Tan Jiayin, who is known for his work on the “Strengthening Hong Kong’s Strategic Position as a Regional and International Business Center” with a focus on blockchain, network security, and artificial intelligence (AI). He welcomed the participation of banks as the research will also explore digital currencies and financial product design and distribution services.

In 2017, in order to “significantly reduce the input of human resources and time that trade finance normally requires, and reduce chances of fraud,” the Hong Kong government announced plans to establish a blockchain-powered trade financing system. The system was expected to benefit the country in its participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to promote trade links between China and its global partners.

In June of this year, Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial, formerly known as AliPay, trialled its first blockchain remittances, sending a transaction between AliPayHK app in Hong Kong and Filipino payment app GCash in three seconds.

Last month, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and a Ping An Group fintech subsidiary announced the launch of their own blockchain trade finance solution with 21 banks. The solution aims to reduce the amount of time and bureaucracy involved in signing up new fledgling businesses for banking services by smoothing over transactions.

Canaan Creative has launched what it hopes will be the future of the blockchain and the first of a series of releases that will improve its position as it battles for increased market share in the bitcoin mining device market.

Dubbed the AvalonMiner Inside, the smart TV also doubles as a bitcoin mining device, and while some dismiss it as a marketing stunt, Canaan believes that this could be the future of bitcoin mining.

The ASIC Killer?

Canaan Creative is the world’s second-largest maker of bitcoin mining equipment behind Bitmain. While Bitmain controls an estimated 70 percent of the mining rig market in addition to its substantial bitcoin mining operations, Canaan controls about 17 percent.

Canaan’s ‘AvalonMiner Inside’, has the capacity to process 2.8 trillion hashes per second which might sound like a lot, until the capacity of existing ASIC rigs is taken into consideration. The most powerful mining rig in Canaan’s current inventory can process 11 trillion hashes per second, which means that the AvalonMiner Inside only has about a quarter of the power available to a regular mining rig.

Even including the added features like voice control, real-time bitcoin mining profitability display and a link to Canaan’s entertainment platform where users can pay for content and gifts using mined bitcoin, this still does not seem on the surface to be a device that is practical.

The catch however, is that Canaan has not built a device that is intended to directly compete with Bitmain’s Antminer or other comparable ASIC miners. What Canaan is trying to do is to build a new generation of blockchain-enabled IoT devices that blend into the background.

These devices will expand the blockchain and increase its hashrate while simultaneously reducing the centralization risk inherent to the dominant model of large bitcoin mining farms. Instead of taking on Bitmain in a potentially painful price war on a turf that has only one clear leader, Canaan hopes to democratize bitcoin mining by making people buy mining devices for reasons other than bitcoin mining.

A network of five million networked devices operating at 25 percent of an ASIC miner’s capacity will, in theory, produce better results than a network of 500,000 ASIC miners working at full capacity.

Criticisms and Upcoming IPO

Some, however, insist that the device is little more than a self-promotion gimmick, offering no real utility to users. Speaking to the South China Morning Post recently, Xiao Lei, a bitcoin analyst bsed in Beijing said:

“It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

CCN reported in May that Canaan’s big rival Bitmain is set to go public in a record-breaking IPO. Canaan itself recently filed for its own upcoming IPO in Hong Kong estimated at $1 billion, and it no doubt has an eye on Bitmain’s existential threat with the launch of the new device.

An excerpt from its IPO filing reads:

“If we cannot maintain the scale and profitability of our single line of system products and, at the same time, offer new products, our ability to continue to grow will suffer.”

The Chinese government’s stance on cryptocurrency mining and exchange activities poses another significant risk to Canaan’s business. According to the South China Morning Post, this is a major motivation for Cannan’s proposed plan to list in Hong Kong instead of mainland China.