Hong Kong is moving quickly towards its aim of becoming a worldwide hub for cryptocurrency with a more accommodating regulatory approach, and a new fund headquartered there is planning to collect $100 million to invest in cryptocurrency businesses. Ben Ng, a general partner at the Asian private equity company SAIF Partners, and veteran tech investor Curt Shi are in charge of managing the fund.
Sunwah Kingsway Capital Holdings and Golin International Group, two significant Asian financial companies, have already committed $30 million to the ProDigital Future Fund. In order to revive the financial hub after a slowdown caused by three years of border restrictions linked to Covid, Hong Kong is actively pursuing cryptocurrency businesses and talent.
The launch of the new fund coincides with Hong Kong’s bold pursuit of its goals to establish itself as a major cryptocurrency centre. The strategy is a stark contrast to that of international authorities, who have increased their monitoring of the industry in the wake of the failure of FTX and other well-known cryptocurrency businesses.
Shi reflected on the ongoing concerns around the market by stating that, “I understand the concerns, but nothing is perfect given the complexity of the crypto economy and current geopolitical situation.” He also added that their “strategy is to continue to see how things go.”
Although the funding process has been “relatively smooth,” investors are wary of investing in cryptocurrency ventures, according to Shi. He continued by saying that in addition to Hong Kong financiers, some family offices from Singapore, Australia, and China had also taken part.
One Future Football, an Australian virtual football league, and GigaSpace, a metaverse business, are two of the six digital asset ventures in which the fund has already made investments. The initiative will target startups and growing businesses, especially Chinese-affiliated tech firms making the switch to Web3, which its proponents frequently characterise as a decentralised internet powered by public blockchains.
While such plans are suggested, Shi believes that “Hong Kong will continue to have a certain degree of openness and flexibility” in regards to its policies and crypto regime. Around $6.4 million of the 2023–2024 annual budget has already been allocated for the growth of the Web3 ecosystem.
A plan was published on February 20 by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong for a licensing system for cryptocurrency platforms that would go into force in June. The plan pushes certain safety regulations such as Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations.
The proposed rules allow retail investors access to licensed exchanges, subject to restrictions, the report said, reasoning that investors are better off dealing with licensed venues rather than offshore and unregulated players. Such regulatory actions will lead to attracting more businesses to the city to turn itself into an international crypto hub.