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Industry experts believe that Hong Kong’s shift in attitude towards blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and Web3 could lure business away from the United States.
Over the past year, the city has taken a number of steps to promote the development of the Web3 space and enable retail investment in cryptocurrencies. The latest example of this is the formation of the Web3 Facilitation Task Force.
Yat Siu, co-founder of investment firm Web3 Animoca Brands, is one of 15 industry experts invited to advise a working group that will interact directly with key government officials and financial regulators.
Exciting news! Yat Siu (@ysiu), our co-founder and executive chairman, has been appointed to the Task Force on Promoting Web3 Development, established by the HKSAR government. Yat believes that the work of the Task Force will help to shape not only #Hong Kong but also globally… pic.twitter.com/8zEfwTez9I
— Animoca Brands (@animocabrands) July 3, 2023
In an extensive exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Siu highlighted Hong Kong’s gradual change in attitude towards cryptocurrencies and Web3 in recent years, which puts the city in a unique position to attract start-ups and established firms to its jurisdiction.
While acknowledging that the US should not be “excluded” from the Web3 race, Sioux said many firms in the sector are operating “in fear mode” due to a lack of regulatory clarity. The situation has been exacerbated in recent months by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has filed separate allegations against Binance. US and Coinbase for many alleged unregistered securities offerings:
“The SEC doesn’t seem to want to be consistent on this, unlike Hong Kong or other jurisdictions like Japan, the Middle East, or even Europe where rules are starting to get consistent.”
Siu said Hong Kong saw an opportunity to take the lead in terms of Web3 development, while the US appears to have “sabotaged” its potential to become a mainstream for companies in the sector.
Hong Kong has also kept the crypto space at arm’s length for a number of years, and a restrictive policy banning retail investment in cryptocurrencies was lifted only recently after lengthy consultations with industry advocates.
Siu said the government has shown a certain level of “flexibility” in its changing stance towards the industry, given that it has not always welcomed crypto companies.
Related: Expect the best blockchain games in 2023, Animoca Brands CEO says
The Web3 Task Force in Hong Kong is also likely to be quite flexible. Sioux told Cointelegraph that he was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of so many Web3 proponents, which is indicative of the city’s intention to continue growing the sector.
The working group has not yet held its first meeting, and Sioux is looking forward to monthly or quarterly meetings with various working groups on cryptocurrency, blockchain and Web3 that have been established in Hong Kong.
Members of the Web3 Working Group have entered into a two-year agreement with the Hong Kong government and will make recommendations on ways to spur industry growth. Sioux envisions that the task force will boost the development of the sector by rewarding talent and encouraging the study of blockchain solutions in higher education institutions:
“I think this is a great way for us to build a closer relationship with the government and also to sort of move forward with the Web3 adoption program.”
As previously reported, Hong Kong’s efforts to develop the Web3 sector have resulted in the city’s Cyberport attracting more than 150 Web3 firms this year, while companies are reportedly spending between $2 million and $25 million to obtain virtual asset service provider licenses for work in the city.