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Hong Kong Charts Own Path for Crypto Domination

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Hong Kong is advancing its crypto regulations and says it will chart its own course that is distinct from the approach taken by Beijing.

While jurisdictions like Dubai and Singapore have had a head start in introducing or developing regulatory frameworks for the space, Hong Kong is only just beginning to reveal its plans, saying it wants to become a leader in the web3 space.

Yesterday the Hong Kong SAR Government set out its policy stance and approach towards developing a vibrant sector and ecosystem for virtual assets (VA) in Hong Kong in a post on its official blog, as the city moves towards legalizing crypto trading for retail investors and position itself as a hub for digital assets.

Related: Singapore, Hong Kong Jostle for Crypto Hub Status

On Monday – Day 1 of Hong Kong Fintech Week – Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s finance secretary, said the city is “determined and committed to explore financial innovations together with the global Virtual Assets community.”

Christopher Hui, Hong Kong secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, reiterated the policy statement on the development of virtual assets in Hong Kong at his fireside chat with Yat Siu.

Siu, the co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, told Bloomberg that “There is a clear demonstration that they [Hong Kong] has a different perspective from China, and reinforces the idea that while China and Hong Kong are one country, they are actually distinctly different in terms of the way they operate things. Even financially today, Hong Kong already has a different role than China, and the rest of the world doesn’t quite understand that. I think this policy finally makes that clear.”

Among the city’s plans are a new licensing regime for virtual asset service providers, tokenization of green bonds, stablecoins, experimental NFT offerings, and retail trading of digital assets. It is also considering property rights for tokenized assets and the legality of smart contracts, so as to provide a solid legal foundation for their development.

At the conference stage, Agustin Carstens, general manager of Bank for International Settlements, highlighted the unique position of central banks’ unique position to push the boundaries, shape and forge the future monetary system via Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), while King Leung, head of FinTech of Invest Hong Kong, led the discussion “Hong Kong Heroes – Making Hong Kong Proud Again!” on the Web3 stage. He was joined by industry Maggie Ng, HSBC head of wealth and personal banking, fashion designer Vivienne Tam, and Simon Loong, founder and group CEO of WeLab, who shared use cases and successful journeys in Hong Kong.

Other blockchain/web3-related panels included one discussing the Terra/Luna crisis, as well as panels on decentralized finance, featuring Jo Murphy of CAIA Association, Henrique Centiei of HashKeyGroup, Amy Zhang of Fireblocks and Charles d’Haussy of dYdX.