Hong Kong Should Follow Singapore, Japan in Crypto: Government Study

Source: Adobe / leungchopan

A government study conducted by the Research Office at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has suggested that the city should take cues from countries like Japan and Singapore in its efforts to develop and embrace Web3 technologies and crypto.

The study emphasized that Hong Kong can draw on the experiences of early movers in the Web3 space as policy guides for its own development, and highlighted concerns that Hong Kong is lagging behind its East Asian and Gulf counterparts in terms of Web3 development.

It specifically pointed to Japan's national strategy for Web3, Singapore's focus on blockchain use cases, and South Korea's metaverse strategy as examples worth considering.

The study called for the provision of more legal clarity to create an environment conducive to Web3 technologies, including addressing issues related to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), intellectual property rights, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

It also urged Hong Kong's Legislative Council to catch up with metaverse-related developments in other countries, and explore how metaverse-like solutions in can be used in various industries.

Government and Financial Secretary pushing for Web3

The report noted that the Government in its 2023-2024 budget has stressed the importance for Hong Kong to “seize the ‘golden opportunity’ of Web 3.0,” while allocating HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) to boost the city's Web3 sector.

It also said recent announcements by Hong Kong's Financial Secretary to nurture a Web3 ecosystem and establish a task force on virtual assets were positive steps.

Additionally, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission's acceptance of license applications for crypto exchanges further indicates the region's push towards embracing Web3 and blockchain technologies.

Notable Web3 developments in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has seen notable developments in the Web3 and crypto space, including the launch of Samsung's Bitcoin Futures Active exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange earlier this year.

But while the government has certainly taken steps in the right direction when it comes to crypto, Bobby Lee, a pioneer of the Bitcoin industry in China, has warned that the city’s crypto-ambition may not be sustainable.

“The fantasy for exchanges is thinking that if officials let us get a license, then maybe they’ll start a sort of crypto-connect trading link with mainland China,” Lee said in an interview last month.

He added that he is not blaming the Hong Kong government and that, in the grander scheme of things, “Hong Kong itself is a drop in the bucket.” 

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