Industry experts believe Hong Kong’s shifting attitude towards blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and Web3 could lure companies away from the US.
Last year, the city took a series of initiatives to boost the Web3 space and facilitate retail investment into cryptocurrencies. The latest example is the establishment of a working group to facilitate Web3 development.
Yat Siu, co-founder of Web3 investment firm Animoca Brands, is one of 15 industry experts invited to serve as advisors to the task force, which will engage directly with key government officials and financial regulators.
Exciting news! Xiao Yi (@ysiu), our co-founder and executive chairman, has been appointed as a member of the Task Force on Promoting Web3 Development established by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. According to Yat, the work of the task force not only helped to shape #Hongkong And globally… pic.twitter.com/8zEfwTez9I
— Animoca Brands (@animocabrands) July 3, 2023
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Siu highlighted the gradual change in Hong Kong’s attitude towards cryptocurrencies and Web3 in recent years, which puts the city in a unique position to attract startups and established companies to its jurisdiction.
While acknowledging that the U.S. should not be “excluded” from the Web3 race, Siu said many companies in the industry operate in a “state of fear” due to the lack of clear regulation.this is already The situation has worsened in recent months as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed separate charges against Binance.US and Coinbase for allegedly massive unregistered securities offerings:
“The SEC doesn’t seem to want to be consistent in this regard compared to other jurisdictions like Hong Kong or Japan, the Middle East or even Europe, where the rules are starting to become consistent.”
Siu said Hong Kong saw an opportunity to take a leadership role in driving Web3 development, while the US appeared to be “self-sabotaging” its potential to become a major destination for companies in the industry.
Hong Kong has also kept the cryptocurrency space at arm’s length for years, only recently overturning a restrictive policy banning retail investments in cryptocurrencies following lengthy consultations with industry supporters.
Siu said the government has shown a degree of “agility” in changing its stance on the industry, given that it has not always welcomed cryptocurrency companies.
Related: Expect Better Blockchain Gaming in 2023, Says Animoca Brands CEO
The Hong Kong Web3 working group can be quite unstable. Siu told Cointelegraph that he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout of so many Web3 supporters, which shows the city’s intention to continue nurturing the industry.
The working group has yet to hold its first meeting, and Siu expects to hold monthly or quarterly meetings with various cryptocurrency, blockchain and Web3 working groups established in Hong Kong.
Members of the Web3 working group have signed a two-year agreement with the Hong Kong government and will advise on ways to move the industry forward. Siu envisions the working group advancing the industry by developing talent and encouraging higher education institutions to explore blockchain solutions:
“I think it’s a great way that we can build a closer relationship with the government and push the Web3 adoption agenda in a way.”
As previously reported, Hong Kong’s efforts to ignite the Web3 industry have seen the city’s Cyberport attract more than 150 Web3 companies this year, which have reportedly spent $2-25 million on virtual asset service provider licenses license to operate in the city.