With crypto firms in the US facing a flurry of regulatory attacks, Hong Kong is seizing the moment to position itself strategically as the next blockchain hub.
Johnny Ng Kit-chong, member of the country’s legislative council, is welcoming companies operating in the digital asset space, reaffirming Hong Kong’s commitment to creating an inviting environment by signalling its determination to become a leading destination in the blockchain industry.
Over the weekend, Johnny Ng extended a welcome to Coinbase, who has been at the forefront of the SEC’s regulatory actions along with Binance. He encouraged the firm to obtain a licence to operate in Hong Kong, emphasising the country’s readiness to support their development efforts. He also expressed his willingness to provide additional assistance and support in various areas to facilitate their operations.
‘I hereby offer an invitation to welcome all global virtual asset trading operators including @coinbase to come to HK for application of official trading platforms and further development plans. Please feel free to approach me and I am happy to provide any assistance,” he tweeted.
The invitation arrives at a crucial juncture for Coinbase, as they face charges from the SEC in the United States for alleged operation as an unregistered national securities exchange. While Coinbase’s future actions regarding exploring other jurisdictions remain uncertain, it would come as no surprise if they embrace the opportunity presented by the invitation.
During a fintech event in London in May, CEO Brian Armstrong responded by saying: “Anything is on the table, including relocating or whatever is necessary,” when asked about the possibility of Coinbase potentially leaving the US.
Hong Kong positions itself
The latest comments by the legislative council member is just one of a number of recent actions taken by Hong Kong to strategically position itself as a favourable destination for blockchain-related ventures.
In May, it released new rules allowing licensed exchanges to serve retail traders. The move is already yielding dividends according to Hong Kong’s securities regulator who claimed that it had already recorded ‘a handful of applications’.
Leading exchanges like Huobi and Gate.io are already building strong affiliations with the Hong Kong crypto landscape. Both have applied for virtual asset licences and Huobi became the first member of Hong Kong Virtual Assets Consortium on 31 May.
As Hong Kong continues to make giant strides towards crypto adoption, Johnny Ng has for long remained one of the notable figures at the forefront of the movement. He co-founded G-Rocket, a start-up accelerator, that recently introduced the ‘Hong Kong Web3.0 Hub’ program.
The initiative aims to help 1,000 Web3 start-ups establish their businesses in Hong Kong in the next three years. Recent comments by Ng would suggest that the initiative is already making good on its promises.
In a chat with local media, he stated that more than 400 firms had already registered at the time (four months into launch). He added that there would be about 50k to 100k web3 jobs to be filled in Hong Kong in the next four years.