Two Web3 and virtual asset industry groups formed in Hong Kong as new crypto licensing regime takes shape

May 31, 2023

By Tsering Namgyal

Two separate industry groups catering to the Web3 and virtual asset industry has been formed in Hong Kong as the city plans to catapult itself into a Web3 hub with the rollout of the new crypto asset licensing regime this week.

Hong Kong Licensed Virtual Assets Association (HKVLAA) and Web3 Harbour both debuted at Radical Finance Asia conference on Monday, announcing a shared commitment towards the long-term development of Web3 industry.

Industry leaders from Animoca Brands, DLA Piper, and WHub are among the founding board members of Web3 Harbour, with PwC Hong Kong as a knowledge partner, while HKLVAA counts representatives from SFC-licensed corporations with an uplift or approval for virtual asset activities in Hong Kong as founding members. Some of their members include Axion Global Asset Management, HashKey Digital Asset Group, MaiCapital Limited, Venture Smart Asia and Victory Securities.

“The strong reception from stakeholders for these new industry groups is a testament to the need for greater collaboration across the sector,” said Lawrence Chu, Co-founder and Chairman of Venture Smart Financial Holding, parent company of Hong Kong’s first SFC-approved virtual asset manager, who serves on the founding boards of both associations.

“While HKLVAA and Web3 Harbour serve different membership bases and will adopt unique approaches to address members’ needs, both prioritise knowledge sharing and regulatory clarity in their efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of Web3 technologies in Hong Kong,” he said.

“Our shared principles and desire for cross-industry coordination will help establish Hong Kong as a Web3 innovation capital and virtual assets hub for the world,” said Web3 Harbour’s founding chair Gary Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Terminal 3 and formerly the CEO of the South China Morning Post.

The new regulatory regime for virtual asset service platforms takes effect in Hong Kong on June 1, 2023.

Mr Chu commented that HKLVAA represents the interests of virtual asset entities licensed, or seeking licensing, in Hong Kong, and it will continue to work with the city’s government and regulators to enhance and showcase Hong Kong’s comparative advantages as a global fintech hub.

In reference to the industry’s future, Mr Liu noted that Web3 is “growing at an unprecedented pace, and even with macro headwinds, the market is expected to reach billions of users and trillions of dollars in value by 2030.”

“By convening and engaging a community to address the opportunities and challenges in our industry, Web3 Harbour aims to create a ‘model market’ in Hong Kong which is committed to the long-term development of a decentralized internet that maximizes the societal and economic benefits of blockchain technologies,” he said.

About the author

Tsering Namgyal is the chief content officer of

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