Hong Kong banks are starting to embrace cryptocurrencies, according to a tweet by Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance. CZ emphasized the importance of this move, predicting that more funds will flow into the crypto market, particularly in favor of stablecoins like Tether (USDT). This development has raised concerns among some crypto enthusiasts who fear that the Chinese government may be using this as a trap to attract crypto businesses, only to later crack down on them with full force.
Despite these concerns, an HK-based media house recently reported that ZA Bank, the largest virtual bank in Hong Kong, is expanding its services to include transfers of crypto and fiat currencies, as well as account services for the digital asset sector. According to CEO Ronald Iu, ZA will offer token-to-fiat conversions over licensed exchanges while acting as a settlement partner for clients to allow withdrawals in Hong Kong, China, and US currencies. ZA bank already offers this service to HashKey and OSL, the only two currently licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong.
In February, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) initiated a consultation process for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) seeking a license to provide trading services. The regulator collected input on whether licensed platforms should serve retail investors and under what investor protection measures. This move suggests that Hong Kong is taking a cautious approach to regulating the crypto industry, which could help to attract more businesses to the region.
At the same time, the Hong Kong government has expressed a strong interest in Web3, aiming to seize the opportunity to spearhead innovation and development. The government has earmarked $50 million in its 2023/2024 fiscal year budget to expedite Web3 ecosystem development. This move could help to position Hong Kong as a major player in the blockchain industry.
Overall, the recent shift towards crypto-friendliness in Hong Kong is a positive development for the crypto industry. While there are concerns about the Chinese government’s intentions, Hong Kong’s cautious approach to regulation and investment in Web3 could help to attract more businesses to the region. As more banks and financial institutions begin to embrace cryptocurrencies, it is likely that we will see more funds flowing into the crypto market, particularly in stablecoins like Tether (USDT). This could help to stabilize the crypto market and make it more accessible to a wider range of investors.
In conclusion, while there are still many challenges facing the crypto industry, the recent developments in Hong Kong are a positive sign for the future. As the industry continues to mature and more businesses begin to embrace cryptocurrencies, we can expect to see more innovation and growth in this exciting field.