ICO News: Hong Kong and Singapore Take Blockchain Lead

on Oct 26, 2017
Updated: Mar 11, 2020

While most regions are doing what they can to keep cryptocurrencies and upcoming ICOs at arm’s length, Hong Kong and Singapore have taken a different tack. The central banks of Hong Kong and Singapore are partnering to connect trade finance platforms with the blockchain, as per Reuters. The idea is to cut down on possible fraud and mistakes in international trade transactions, a multi-trillion-dollar business.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have been hard at work developing their own respective blockchain-based trading systems and have now decided to connect them. The partnership is not an isolated event and is part of a broader agreement between the central banks to work together when it comes to the blockchain and fintech. This approach might explain why Hong Kong and Singapore, the latter of which has no plans to unveil regulation for cryptocurrencies right away, are attracting upcoming ICOs. 

Hong Kong and Singapore a Hotbed for Upcoming ICOs 

Henri Arslanian, PwC fintech and regtech lead, explained to Bloomberg why Hong Kong and Singapore are both interesting places in which to do an upcoming ICO. Basically startups are being drawn to an attractive tax environment in addition to a great deal of supply of ICO-related service providers. As China has taken a step back, Hong Kong has embraced blockchain technology and this has benefited participants ranging from exchanges to startups issuing token sales.

Meanwhile, he said that while fraud has been and will continue to be an issue with some upcoming ICOs, initial coin offerings as a category are becoming more institutionalized. He pointed to a trend in which ICO issuers are increasingly adopting know-your-customer (KYL) and anti-money-laundering (AML) protocols, which requires greater vetting of the buyers looking to participate in the token sale. Corporate governance structures are also on the rise among the ICO issuers. 

Arslanian offers a refreshing take on ICOs, saying that if you had told him at the start of 2017 that upcoming ICOs would unfold at the pace in which they’ve done, he wouldn’t have believed it. The category is one that is still being shaped and major changes could unfold with little notice for anyone.