Once a thriving crypto hot spot, Hong Kong witnessed a mass exodus of crypto businesses when regulators began tightening their grip and contemplating a ban on retail investment. However, Johnny Ng, a prominent member of the city’s Legislative Council (LegCo), is working tirelessly to bring back the lost glory, and he seems to have found an unexpected ally in the form of U.S. regulatory actions.
With his viral tweet inviting global crypto exchanges, including Coinbase, to apply for a license in Hong Kong, Ng has positioned himself as a driving force in the legislature’s crypto caucus. He has been relentlessly urging Hong Kong’s chief executive, John Lee, to embrace digital assets, signaling a potential resurgence of the crypto hub status.
While other jurisdictions are competing to become crypto havens due to the increasingly unfriendly U.S. government, Hong Kong boasts a unique advantage with Ng’s active advocacy. His involvement in promoting Web3 technologies and co-founding an accelerator for Web3 startups called G-Rocket demonstrates his commitment to the sector.
Hong Kong’s new regulations require exchanges to obtain licenses, providing a clear route to operate within well-defined parameters. For Coinbase, this presents an appealing opportunity, especially considering the stringent regulatory environment elsewhere.
Despite the excitement surrounding retail investors gaining access to virtual assets, the coins available to Hong Kong residents will be limited to those with substantial market capitalization, meeting strict criteria, including a 12-month track record and inclusion in recognized indices.
Ng has clarified that additional coin listings will be considered step by step, focusing on meaningful volume. Only established players with sufficient capital, responsible officers, and experience are likely to secure licenses.
Ng acknowledges Hong Kong’s unique “One Country Two Systems” model, allowing the city to pursue its path that suits its interests. The collaboration with mainland China’s consultative body and Ng’s proposals on blockchain and Web3 technologies highlight the bridge Hong Kong can build between the two.
One of the driving forces behind Ng’s advocacy for Web3 technologies is the potential it holds to increase social mobility, particularly for the youth. Born into a modest family, Ng aims to create opportunities for others to prosper, irrespective of their background.
As Ng continues to make strides, the crypto community eagerly awaits to see if he extends his invitation to Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. With Coinbase’s potential move to Hong Kong, it would signal the city’s competitiveness and reinforce its position as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction.
While challenges lie ahead, Johnny Ng’s determination and Hong Kong’s unique position as a global financial hub offer a glimmer of hope for a reinvigorated crypto landscape in the city once more.