November 6, 2023
By Joe Pan
In a significant move, the Hong Kong government has reinforced its commitment to becoming a Web3-friendly jurisdiction, building on the pivotal shift it made in 2022. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) recently unveiled its first-ever Non-Fungible Token (NFT) during the Hong Kong Fintech Week. This development comes amid ongoing investigations into a complex fraud network connected to the JPEX case, a stark reminder of the challenges faced in the financial sector.
The pivot towards Web3-friendly policies in Hong Kong was initiated in 2022, with the issuance of a policy statement on Virtual Assets and subsequent initiatives to support the industry. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) introduced a comprehensive handbook on virtual asset trading licenses, and a Web3 task force, featuring private industry experts, was established to advise the government. This renewed commitment has fueled a surge of interest in Web3 and NFT technologies, with corporate interests in Hong Kong increasingly embracing these innovations.
Despite the skepticism and challenges in the financial sector, the government’s support for Web3 remains unwavering, as exemplified by the HKMA’s recent HKMA 30th Anniversary Commemorative NFT unveiling.
“HKMA is undoubtedly a pioneer, being one of the most globally recognized regulators, to issue an NFT,” said Chris Leung, CTO and Co-founder of DTTD, the platform chosen from a pool of locally based Web3 service providers to create and launch HKMA’s inaugural virtual asset. “Over many months, we have collaborated closely with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to bring their vision to life.”
“I believe we were selected for the simple reason that we offer a remarkably straightforward and seamless minting experience designed for the mass market. This means that people with no prior crypto or blockchain experience can acquire a wallet and own an NFT in less than a minute,” Chris Leung added. “Our objective extended beyond showcasing the NFT; it was about raising awareness regarding digital assets within the city. To promote adoption, we partnered with over 20 vendors, providing HK$2 million worth of vouchers and coupons, encompassing a wide range of establishments, including restaurants, cafes, and hotel staycations.”
In the midst of these ongoing investigations related to JPEX and various challenges, the HKMA’s dedication to embracing Web3 technologies remains unwavering. While the government and regulators work diligently to create a Web3-friendly environment, Hong Kong continues its journey to establish itself as a hub for innovative financial technologies, despite the complexities and hurdles encountered along the way.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s perennial competitor, Singapore, is preparing to host its own version of Fintech Week from November 15th to 17th. Lauraled as an event at the intersection of policy, finance, and technology, SFF 2023 appears to be shorter and smaller in scale when it comes to the number of panels and side events focusing on Web3.
“Singapore is actually well positioned to attract VASP or virtual asset service providers in the region,” said Taaha Nizam, CEO of HashCase, a platform enabling enterprises and brands to launch digital collectibles as loyalty programmes in the Web3 space. “Having worked for startups in Hong Kong and launching HashCase in Singapore, onboarding over 50,000 users and facilitated 300,000 transactions, I chose Singapore for a host of reasons, one of which is its legislative framework allowing banks to provide services to virtual asset service providers. While Singapore offers an attractive environment, I am also looking forward to launching my services in Hong Kong, as well as expanding and registering my business there.”
About the author
Joe Pan is an editor and producer at NFTMetta.com.