Hong Kong continues to increase its efforts in Web3 to promote future economic transformation.

In establishing the Development Taskforce on the Third Generation Internet (Web3.0), Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po once stated that the blockchain technology behind Web3.0 possesses the characteristics of decentralization, security, transparency, and low cost, and can solve many difficulties in finance, transactions, business operations, and even daily life.

For Hong Kong, an international financial center, the development of Web3.0 is highly beneficial.

Half a year ago, the Hong Kong Financial Secretary released the “Policy Declaration on the Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong,” clarifying the government’s policy stance and guidelines on the flourishing virtual asset industry and ecosystem in Hong Kong;

Four months ago, the Web3.0 Association was established in Hong Kong, along with the launch of the Hong Kong Web3Hub Ecological Fund;

Two months ago, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong officially implemented a new licensing regime for virtual asset service providers, embarking on a new journey in the field of Web3.0; the Research Group of the Secretariat of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, in its recent publication “Development of Selected Local Web3.0 Technologies,” stated that the foundation for promoting Web3.0 development consists of a series of advanced technologies and related applications, including blockchain technology, smart contracts, virtual assets (such as cryptocurrencies), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and metaverse technology.

Last month, the Hong Kong government announced the establishment of the Development Taskforce on the Third Generation Internet (Web3.0), with Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po serving as the chairman. The taskforce will discuss and propose strategies and measures to promote Hong Kong’s development in the field of Web3.0.

To seize the momentum of Web3.0 development, Hong Kong is actively embracing Web3.0. Currently, virtual assets are becoming a new track for future financial innovation. Data shows that the global market value of virtual assets has grown from $10.3 billion in 2013 to $1.0766 trillion in January 2023.

According to the “Guideline on Virtual Asset Trading Platform Operators Applicable to Hong Kong” implemented by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission on June 1, all centralized virtual asset exchanges operating in Hong Kong or promoting services to Hong Kong investors must obtain a license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and be regulated by it. Recently, the first virtual asset trading service platform targeting retail users in Hong Kong has been launched.

On August 3, the virtual asset trading platform Hash Key Exchange announced that it has obtained an upgrade approval for License No. 1 and License No. 7 from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, which means that its business scope in Hong Kong has expanded from professional investors to retail investors, making it the first licensed virtual asset exchange in Hong Kong to serve individual investors.

Regarding the many past closures of global cryptocurrency exchanges, Hong Kong SAR government’s Deputy Secretary for Financial Affairs and Treasury, Edmond Lau, said: The reason behind these cases is inadequate regulation. Therefore, the SAR government will create an appropriate regulatory framework based on the principle of “same business, same risks, same rules,” in order to protect the interests of investors and ensure the stability of the financial system, enabling sustainable and responsible development of Web3.0, and providing financial innovation services to the real economy and the general public.

Now, with the support of the policy environment in Hong Kong, an increasing number of virtual asset-related companies have shown strong interest in the Hong Kong market. Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Affairs and Treasury, Christopher Hui, stated on July 30th that currently, 90 mainland and overseas companies related to virtual assets have expressed their intention to set up in Hong Kong.

Tiger Brokers’ fintech securities firm, UP Fintech Holding, and its subsidiary, UP Fintech Holding Technology, have taken the first step in virtual asset trading. Recently, they provided a 24/7 one-stop virtual asset trading system solution for Hong Kong securities firms. Kevin Hu, CEO of UP Fintech Holding Technology (Hong Kong), stated that more than 20 securities firms have expressed interest in cooperation, and they are expected to cooperate with around 30 securities firms this year.

On July 21st, Huafu Securities, a subsidiary of China Tonghai International Financial, officially launched virtual asset trading services and facilitated the first transaction for its clients. After the launch of virtual asset trading services, millions of high-net-worth stock investors who trade in Hong Kong will be able to trade digital assets directly within the brokerage system provided by HashKey.

It is worth mentioning that Web3.0 not only brings changes to the financial industry but also has the potential to reshape the education industry. Ravi Chamria, Co-founder and CEO of Zeeve, a blockchain infrastructure automation platform, defines decentralized education as a system that is more collaborative, efficient, personalized, inclusive, and respects data privacy.

In recognition and importance of the future potential of this field, the education sector in Hong Kong is also embracing Web3.0 enthusiastically, integrating the transformative power of Web3.0 into the campus environment. As a member of the Hong Kong Web3.0 Association, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology established a blockchain joint laboratory with a network technology company as early as 2019, and is building a high-performance blockchain technology ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area.

Wang Yang, Vice President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said, “Many universities in Hong Kong are engaged in Web3.0 blockchain construction, and we hope to make the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology the ‘Huangpu Military Academy’ in the field of digital assets.” Hong Kong is fully prepared to embrace the development of Web3.0 from all aspects.

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