FTX Founder says Hong Kong Could be Top Blockchain Hub in Asia
Crypto exchange FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said that, unlike the West, although Asia does not have a key web3, blockchain and cryptocurrency hotspot, Hong Kong could emerge as a leader in that sector.
Speaking virtually during the annual Hong Kong FinTech Week 2022, Bankman-Fried said that other potential locations in Asia are Singapore and Busan.
"If you look at what the crypto hubs will be in the world, I think the Bahamas looks like one of them, Dubai looks like one of them, but if you look at the East, it’s not as obvious. It could be Singapore, could be somewhere like Busan in Korea, but I think there is a real chance it ends up being Hong Kong," Bankman-Fried said.
Furthermore, the world's youngest billionaire Bankman-Fried added that the Hong Kong government's crypto initiative to start a consultation on legalising crypto trading by retail investors is a positive sign for a brighter future for crypto in the region.
Hong Kong is planning to issue tokenised green bonds and prepare for the development of the digital Hong Kong Dollar.
Financial Secretary of HKSAR Paul Chan spoke virtually during the Fintech Week on Monday to introduce the latest policy statement on virtual assets to the public, saying that "we want to make our policy stance clear to global markets, to demonstrate our determination to explore financial innovation together with the global, virtual-assets community," hoping to maximise with the advantages and innovation of Fintech in terms of virtual assets.
Regarding the upcoming tokenisation of green bonds, Eddie Yu, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), spoke at the same event and disclosed that the authority is planning to issue the first batch of green bonds this year globally, aiming to promote the product to institutional investors on a small scale first. Details will be announced further later.
FTX was relocated from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in 2021 due to regulatory uncertainty.
Bankman-Fired also confirmed last week that FTX is planning to launch its own stablecoin.
Speaking in an interview with Web3 news media, The Big Whale, Bankman-Fried discussed several of the industry’s perceptions concerning the exchange’s position atop the ongoing crypto winter.
As against the popular belief that FTX is the biggest winner in the industry based on its success in snapping up Voyager Digital and BlockFi, both crypto lenders that got riled up as prices of assets tumbled, Bankman-Fried reiterated that its role, irrespective of the perception is to help maintain industry balance which will, in turn, benefit everyone.
Acknowledging that this current crypto winter is the “first real Bear Market we've been through,” the FTX boss acknowledged that the market downtime is not affecting its business as such as it is always innovating.
“One of the main characteristics of crypto platforms is that our operation is not impacted by the market downturn any more than that,” he said, “Every day we continue to grow the business, and create services and new tools for customers. So, yes, the markets are less dynamic, things are a little tenser, but in the end, it doesn't take us off course.”
Meanwhile, neighbouring Singapore is building measures to tighten its crypto regulations on retail investors.
Last week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unveiled a proposal to restrict retail participation in digital assets. Following this, small investors will be banned from funding coin purchases through borrowing.
Singapore's central bank echoed sentiments similar to that of the MAS by asking companies to stop using tokens deposited by retail investors for lending or staking to generate yield. However, the restrictions proposed by the two regulatory bodies will not be applicable to high-net-worth investors.
However, Singapore is taking these moves to ensure positive growth of the crypto industry with security measures that will provide safety to investors.
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Hong Kong, Singapore Sees Diverging Approaches to Retail Crypto Trading