Hong Kong’s local government on Friday announced the formation of the Task Force on Promoting Web3 Development, citing the potential benefits to many industries of the low cost and transparency in blockchain technology that underpins the idea of a decentralized Internet. The group will be chaired by the city’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan, according to a government press release on June 30.
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- “The blockchain technology underpinning Web3 features characteristics in respect of disintermediation, security, transparency, and low cost,” said Chan in the press release. “It has the potential to solve many difficulties and pain points encountered in finance, trade, business operations and even day-to-day life.”
- The task force comprises 11 members from government agencies and 15 advisory members from business and industry sectors, The latter group includes Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Hong Kong-based software and investment giant Animoca Brands.
- The role of the task force is to provide recommendations on “the sustainable and responsible development of Web3 in Hong Kong,” according to the government release.
- Web3 is based on the idea of a decentralized, permissionless and open-source evolution of the internet based on technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- In a Monday statement, Animoca’s Siu said: “The Task Force firmly establishes Hong Kong as the leading example of a mature and highly modernized economy that embraces the remarkable opportunities presented by Web3, blockchain, virtual assets, and the open metaverse.” Animoca’s portfolio includes projects like Axie Infinity, OpenSea, and Dapper Labs. It is also the parent company of Web3 gaming firm Sandbox.
- Financial Secretary Chan has been an advocate of Web3 in Hong Kong, but allocated a relatively small HK$50 million (US$6.37 million) to develop the city’s Web3 sector in his 2023 annual budget speech in February.
- Apart from the government initiatives, the Institute of Web 3.0 Hong Kong was established in April. The non-profit said it wants to help collaboration in the Web3 industry and is headed by Norman Chan, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
- The launch of the task force comes as Hong Kong seeks to become a global hub for digital asset trading and the broader Web3 industry. The city kicked off its new crypto exchange licence regime in June and is laying out the red carpet for Web3 companies.
- Other countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Japan and India are experimenting with use cases for blockchain.
- India, despite the country’s distrust of cryptocurrencies, is testing blockchain use cases. The India Blockchain Alliance (IBA) is adopting Web3 technologies in real-world scenarios from on-chain university-degree registration for job seekers to real estate tokenization and police crime reports, according to a Forkast interview with IBA founder and CEO Raj Kapoor.
(Adds comment from Animoca brands.)
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