Deepfake AI ‘gang’ drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express

The NFT Unicorn magazine-Asia-Express-Jan-20-scaled-1 Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News

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

OKX trader alleges $11 million loss due to deepfake AI scam

Crypto LaLa, operations manager at Quant Matter, says their account on crypto exchange OKX worth $11 million was drained by hackers within 25 minutes with no email or two-factor authentication warnings.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Crypto Lala wrote on June 11. “I have many years of extensive experience in the cryptocurrency space, and this was the first time I had personally seen my assets being stolen. To this day, I still can’t believe that all the money in my OKX account was stolen. My hands are still shaking, and I am extremely angry, frustrated, and sad.”

Star Xu, founder of OKX, claims that a “coin-stealing hacking gang” is deliberately using deepfake AI to impersonate victims to bypass facial recognition software and gain direct access to their accounts. “Are all hacker gangs so arrogant now? The communication records between the perpetrators, beneficiaries, and victims of AI face-changing crimes constantly mislead the victims into believing that OKX stole the money,” Xu wrote. The case is ongoing.

The NFT Unicorn Screenshot-2024-06-13-190025-1024x777 Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News
Alleged unauthorized withdrawals from Crypto LaLa’s OKX account. (X)

Xi Jinping lauds Conflux chief scientist

Chinese President Xi Jinping has praised Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, a prominent figure in blockchain technology and a professor at Tsinghua University, in an open letter dated June 12. Yao is the chief scientist for the Conflux network, a notable layer-1 blockchain initiative in China.

Conflux, supported by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, operates on a hybrid proof-of-work and proof-of-stake consensus mechanism through the Conflux Foundation, also known as the Shanghai Tree-Graph Blockchain Research Institute. It claims to be the only regulatory-compliant public blockchain in China, where cryptocurrencies are currently banned.

The NFT Unicorn wf-73-49722257076495490 Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News
Chinese computer scientist Andrew Chi-Chih Yao.

President Xi applauded Yao’s dedication to science and technology since his return to China two decades ago. “You have transformed your patriotism into a mission of serving the country,” Xi wrote. “Your commitment to Tsinghua University has led to significant achievements in teaching, education, and scientific research innovation. I extend my heartfelt greetings to you.”

Xi urged Yao to persist in his efforts to develop innovative training models, promote interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research, and build a high-level base for talent and scientific innovation. He also emphasized his support for Yao’s role in enhancing China’s educational and technological strength.

Despite China’s hostility to crypto, President Xi himself appears to be a fan of distributed ledger technology. During the 2023 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit last July, he touted the possibility of using central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to expand bilateral trade. “The Chinese side proposes to expand the share of local currency settlements of SCO countries, expand sovereign digital currency cooperation, and promote the establishment of SCO development banks,” he stated.

The NFT Unicorn ;type=img Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News

The NFT Unicorn ;type=img Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News

Chinese-led CBDC bridge enters MVP phase

A multinational CBDC bridge consisting of the central banks of China, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Hong Kong has reached the minimum viable product (MVP) phase. Dubbed “mBridge,” the project is dedicated to creating “an efficient, low-cost, highly scalable and regulatory-compliant cross-border payment solution centered on central bank digital currency.”

The bridge utilizes distributed ledger technology created by Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent. Two years prior, mBridge settled its first-of-a-kind CBDC transaction involving four fiat currencies. Potential future upgrades include local deployment of blockchain nodes and integration with commercial banks.

Last December, China secured a $400 million deal with the UAE to use each other’s CBDCs in cross-border trade. “The renewal of the currency swap agreement reflects the depth of relations between the UAE and China and demonstrates the UAE Central Bank’s commitment to strengthening its partnership with China in the fields of finance, trade, and investment,” officials wrote. “China is the UAE’s largest global trading partner, with non-oil trade between the two countries exceeding 264.2 billion dirhams in 2022.”

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Zipmex license revoked by Thai SEC

Troubled Thai crypto exchange Zipmex’s license has been revoked by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The decision was made because the company’s financial condition may cause damage to the public and its management structure and personnel are inappropriate and insufficient for efficient and responsible business operations,” officials stated.

“After the effective revocation of its licenses, Zipmex retains its status as a limited company with corresponding rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, including the possibility of being subject to legal action.”

Zipmex clients can still contact the company to retrieve their assets. Meanwhile, the company has been ordered by the Thai SEC to return any outstanding digital currencies back to its customers.

Recovery may be difficult. On November 29, 2023, media reports revealed that Zipmex creditors would receive as little as 3 cents on the dollar for initial claims, with further payouts in a recovery scenario. Zipmex CEO Marcus Lim refused to confirm the cited details of a restructuring scheme but claimed “inaccuracies” in numbers cited by journalists. Last April, the firm lost a $100 million buyout deal sponsored by V Ventures after the latter withdrew. 

The NFT Unicorn Screenshot-2024-06-13-190556-724x1024 Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News
Zipmex’s social channels have gone quiet for over a year now. (X)

Microvisionchain launches multi-million dollar builder grant program

Bitcoin DeFi developer MicrovisionChain (MVC), based in Singapore and Macau, has launched a Builder Grant program denominated in its native token, SPACE. Managed by MVCDAO, the program allows developers to apply individually or in teams for funding from a $1 million pool starting July, which will then be capped at 250,000 SPACE ($665,000) per quarter thereafter.

The grant process involves submitting project details, undergoing review, potential revisions, and final approval either by committee consent or DAO on-chain voting. “Successful projects receive rewards divided into three parts over three months, ensuring ongoing support and incentives,” developers wrote.

In April, the protocol debuted its first asset bridge as part of its efforts to build a fully functional BRC-20 decentralized exchange that supports swaps and token exchanges. “The asset bridge addresses the issue of transaction congestion within the Bitcoin ecosystem, which includes BRC20 tokens, Runes, and other assets,” said Jason Kwok, chief operating officer and co-founder of MVC. “We are actively planning to collaborate with renowned custodial institutions and execute strategic campaigns to achieve higher total value-locked targets.”

The NFT Unicorn portrait_about_us_zhiyuan_sun_720 Deepfake AI 'gang' drains $11M OKX account, Zipmex zapped by SEC: Asia Express Crypto News

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.

Source: Cointelegraph