Macau-based ex-triad gangster “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok-Koi has aligned with a cryptic Beijing firm to help sponsor chess and poker tournaments in China. It has come to light that he managed to raise about $750 million in under 5 minutes for his “HB” cryptocurrency in an initial coin offering.
The ICO was launched by Wan in Cambodia, at a flashy event attended by businessmen and celebrities from China and Hong Kong, and even high-ranking government and military officials.
Wan’s company, World Hung Mun has sold about 450 million tokens in total, according to reports. With Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines already done and dusted with, a final stop is scheduled at the end of July in Malaysia.
According to their investment document, the company plans to issue a total of 1 billion tokens, half of them to allegedly be offered to the public.
However, there are still doubts regarding the legality of Wan’s currency, the origins of the mysterious Chinese company involved, and of the poker and chess tournaments as well. The first of these tournaments are scheduled to be held in October at Hainan, where prize money would be provided in the form of HB tokens.
Earlier in July, a company named Zhonggongxin Cosmos (Beijing) Internet Technology Limited said that they had signed a partnership with Wan’s investment company to work together on a chess and poker game competition in Hainan. Zhonggongxin Cosmos is a subsidiary of Zhonggongxin Assets Management Limited, a company holding several business interests including asset management, construction projects in Russia, and suggests that it might be state-owned.
Guo Jia, a staff member at Zhonggongxin Cosmos, says that the tournament scheduled for October may run for the whole year after qualifying matches, with a total prize money pool of over 10 million yuan (HK$ 11.7 million). The money will be provided by World Hung Mun and other partners.
“We may pay the prize in half cash, half HB,” he explained, also saying “the big bosses from both sides” would release details later. Guo maintains there is no law against using cryptocurrency as a prize in China, and the company would host the competition lawfully.
Li Yongfeng, the founder of Shubei, an information hub and social network for cryptocurrency investors, cites concerns regarding the technology used by Wan’s company to back HB. He explained that the investment document held only a vague reference to HB’s technology, and a source code wasn’t mentioned. This makes it impossible for people to track and verify the tokens.