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One Year in Hong Kong Web3: From Coin Ring Dirt Dog to Investment Banking Elite

Changes are hidden in the minutiae.

Jack (a pseudonym), who works in product operation, jumped from a traditional cryptocurrency exchange to a compliant exchange that is applying for a license in Hong Kong this year. He found that during a proposal writing process, the word “market” in the document “in different markets” was required to be changed to “jurisdiction”. jurisdiction”.

This change in terminology reflects the different images of traditional cryptocurrency exchanges and Hong Kong’s compliant exchanges: traditional cryptocurrency exchanges are most importantly oriented to users, while a Hong Kong-based compliant exchange is most interested in being “compliant” and following regulations. BITMAIN

Similarly, Jack found that the company no longer uses the “rocket” motif in its content promotions, nor does it use similar emoticons when employees communicate with each other on messaging software. Because this similar pattern is considered to be encouraging trading, there is a suspicion of guiding market sentiment.

More than a year has passed since November 2022, when Hong Kong issued the “Policy Declaration on the Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong”. The challenge for these practitioners who, like Jack, are rooted in the construction of Hong Kong’s Web3 ecosystem, is not only to acclimatize themselves to how to do things under the regulatory framework, but also how to cope with entrepreneurial requirements, how to adapt to Hong Kong’s local culture, and so on ……

The cryptocurrency world is not the same as Web3 Hong Kong
Jack feels that the biggest difference between his current job and other cryptocurrency jobs is that everyone in the organization has to adapt to “compliance”.

Working under a compliance framework is like dancing in shackles, Jack gets “stuck” in copywriting, “Did I just put another rocket in there? Jack was often praised for his good copywriting ideas.    https://www.Hominers.com/

Greta, the chief marketing officer of VDX Exchange, summarized that he is currently engaged in a “Web3+investment banking” job. After years of working in the cryptocurrency industry, Greta’s previously developed cryptocurrency mindset has been shattered. When working in the traditional cryptocurrency industry, the first thing that comes to the mind of the industry is how to make a hundred times more money through this hot spot. As a practitioner, I thought about how to chase the hotspot with a small amount of money.

Now, when working in an exchange that is applying for a compliance license, the first thing that comes to her mind is the risk behind the hot spot, and how to protect users’ assets as an exchange.

Previously, when Greta worked in the traditional exchanges in the cryptocurrency circle, she organized activities for C-end users, and at that time, she considered how to maximize the conversion of users with an activity. Now, more B-end users, to do the dissemination of them, you need to show more business compliance, long-term development of strategic thinking and so on.

Now, Jack will define himself as a financial person, he feels that the daily workflow and traditional financial institutions are not very different, daily dealings with regulators, partners are mostly traditional funds, banks, etc.. He needs to make up for the financial and legal knowledge related to traditional finance after work, and has even been preparing for the license exam.

There is also a lot to get used to in life. The city of Hong Kong still feels relatively depressing to Jack, walking on the road he often feels depressed, he will recall his mother in his childhood when he went to Hong Kong described to him “Hong Kong’s tall buildings are so many, looking up to see the building hat fell off”, Jack felt that he could be in the streets of Shanghai laughing, in the streets of Beijing laughing, but embarrassed in the streets of Hong Kong to laugh! Jack felt that he could laugh in the streets of Shanghai and Beijing, but he was too embarrassed to laugh in the streets of Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, where property prices are high and the pressure of survival is great, Tony, the founder of NFTCHINA.HK, observes that there is a big difference in the way mainlanders and Hong Kongers present themselves to the outside world. Hong Kong people work hard, not just at work, but in every aspect of their lives, as the locals understand the concept of “hands off, mouth off”.

What remains to be adapted is the local culture and language. Greta, who has been in Hong Kong for almost a year, feels that she is only 50% integrated into the local society, and the 50% that she is not integrated is due to the lack of time to learn about Hong Kong’s local culture. For example, in the past, when working in the mainland, business correspondence would end with a common phrase like “Good luck”, but in the world of traditional Chinese, it would not be expressed in this way. Therefore, every time I communicate with a local client in Hong Kong, I need to have my local colleagues to revise the written letter.

Moreover, Cantonese is still the language of business communication in Hong Kong, and Greta often meets with Hong Kong clients together with her business colleagues, so she basically understands the general language used in business occasions, but it is still a bit difficult for her to speak on her own.

When an industry moves from a state of barbaric growth to one of order and regulation, those in the industry are bound to adapt to the new rules. Dancing in shackles will be the norm, says Greta, adding that VDX is in the sensitive period of applying for a license, so everything the organization says to the public needs to be reviewed by colleagues in the compliance department before it is released.

Riding the wind and waves
Tony’s company passed the application to move into the Science Park, and Tony went to check the annual report of the firm across the street from his own company, which had revenues of tens of billions of dollars a quarter. In the park, there are also many listed companies and excellent enterprises from mainland China, such as Huawei, China Mobile, Chianxin, Ningde Times and so on. This makes Tony feel honored to work with so many great companies.

In this year of starting up in Hong Kong, Tony’s deepest feeling is that he and his company have stepped on the momentum. In the process of docking with customers, Tony feels that now the A and B parties are switched, Tony no longer like before when meeting partners, to introduce to each other what they have done, how many users of the platform. Such behavior was more of a self-promotion, and after more than a year of deep cultivation in Hong Kong, Tony believes that when he finds his partner, both parties are based on the recognition of NFTChina.hk’s ability to talk about cooperation, and then the resources can be quickly connected to one another to achieve a common goal.

In the current cooperation, Tony will do the research and judgment together with the project partners, both sides will write down in black and white the goals to be achieved for the cooperation, and then to measure and match the resources that both sides have.

This kind of cooperation was rare before the release of the Declaration. Previously, in order to make a living, Tony would go to find some parties who needed their services but did not understand Web3, and in the process of cooperation, the cost of “educating” each other on Web3-related knowledge was also high.

Tony summarizes the reason for such a change as he has accumulated many years of experience in the industry, and then seized the opportunity of Hong Kong, Tony’s company, after coming to Hong Kong, launched a new RWA project, financing non-Web3 projects, using NFT to represent the interests of the capitalists, and receive dividends. Looking at it with the eyes of the cryptocurrency circle, this is not considered an innovative way to play in the industry. But Tony believes that when viewed through the eyes of traditional finance, this has been innovative.

Similar to Tony’s feelings as the founder of a project, Jack also feels that his current job is a kind of entrepreneurial state. He enjoys the process of the project from 0 to 1 and has gained enough sense of accomplishment. At different stages of the company’s development, his responsibilities vary greatly, he has participated in the writing of legal documents, followed up on the entire exchange product logic to the refinement of the KYC process, the selection of suppliers, etc., and technical staff to refine the details of the product, but also participated in the flow of conversion, KOL BD and other work. In this process, Jack has to learn new knowledge quickly and become a composite talent.

Jack feels that it is hard for him to go back to the traditional Internet industry, as he has joined a policy-supportive, fast-rising, and close-to-money industry. web3 is fast-changing, and he is in contact with new things every day, and the accumulation of wealth is also fast, and although the work pressure is high, but his personal growth is also rapid.

Overtime is the norm, every day at eight o’clock to start working, has been non-stop until ten o’clock at night. The appointment with me for a phone interview was at 8 p.m. on a weekday night, and during the call, Jack told me that at that moment he was nibbling on his dinner: cookies from a coworker.

“How can I fit so much into this year?” Jack exclaims, looking back on his 2023.

Learning to slow down under a policy of long-termism
And looking back at the regulatory movement in Hong Kong over the year, it only did two major things – approving exchange licenses, regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, and launching the Digital Hong Kong Dollar Pilot Program.

On the surface, there are not many clear policies, but it has already shown that the government’s position is clear enough. And under this wave of money and people are really pouring into Hong Kong. Both the number of conferences organized, the number of Web3 talents flooded in, and the number of web3 companies established in Hong Kong were all top in previous years. Those who caught this wave of popularity did and have tasted the sweetness.

Tony not only had his company opened up new business, but also got some commendations from the government level. When I interviewed him and asked what he had done during the year, he started by counting the official websites that the project had been featured on, as well as some of the governmental awards that he had received. To him, these awards are a symbol of the government’s recognition of what he has done. In the past, when he was doing digital collection in the Mainland, he could only treat it as a business.

With a year of deep cultivation in Hong Kong and feeling the stability of the policy, Tony feels that he can make Web3 entrepreneurship as his own business. Although he also worked more than ten hours a day, Tony felt that he was using tactical diligence to cover up strategic laziness before. While doing things in Hong Kong, Tony was able to deduce what might happen at each step of the project development, the revenue situation and so on during the sandboxing stage.

In his life, Tony, who moved to Hong Kong from Beijing, has been able to use Cantonese proficiently in his daily life, and it was only at this moment that he felt he had truly integrated into Hong Kong society. 2016, he passed the Hong Kong Talent Settlement and came to work in Hong Kong, during which time he also started his own business in Shenzhen. Next year, he will get a Hong Kong permanent residence ID card after seven years in Hong Kong.

Accepted by the city in his life, his life in Hong Kong is considered a real stretch. In previous years, when he spoke Mandarin with locals, or when he was recognized for his poor Cantonese, the local service staff would politely switch to Mandarin to communicate with him, and there would not be too many pleasantries. Now, when he uses Cantonese to communicate with the locals, no one thinks his Cantonese is broken anymore, and the businessmen no longer treat him as a customer, but as a neighbor who will chat with him about his family.

Tony has also brought his children to Hong Kong to attend school. Originally, Tony wanted to wait until his children were in junior high school before arranging for them to study in Hong Kong. However, as he has established a firm foothold in Hong Kong, this plan has been advanced.

Everything seems to have unlimited hope, in anticipation of the bull market will also come. Tony’s entrepreneurial project is located in the NFT track has not been clearly regulated, and currently feel the wind is blowing the dividends, this dividend is the policy superimposed on the double benefits of the bull market.

But Jack, who is in a compliant exchange, has some different feelings. He feels that regulation started in the second half of this year, and the Hong Kong government is slowly becoming conservative and cautious. In his perception, Hong Kong’s regulation in the first half of the year was a state of bold experimentation and very supportive.

This may be due to the local exchange JPEX involved in “financial fraud” related, or perhaps because Hong Kong borrowed some of the regulatory experience of the United States and other places. However, for a commercial organization, the process of waiting for the boots to fall on the ground of the policy needs to bear high operating costs, and this process is actually difficult to endure.

For example, although the two licensed exchanges have opened up their retail business, the only coins they trade for retail investors are BTC and ETH. The exchanges need to be reviewed and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is still very cautious due to the protection of investors.

But it’s precisely this caution that has given Jack something to think about: is there a more suitable region for the development of the crypto industry than Hong Kong?

After all, compliance is increasingly becoming the main theme of exchange development. Exchanges are expected to gain a foothold in Hong Kong, and will also slowly lay out more overseas compliance markets. Jack feels that in the process of overseas expansion, he will also have more opportunities for development, and perhaps he can join a cooler job than a centralized exchange, after all, when he chose to enter the Web3 industry, he had a “decentralized” dream. After all, when he chose to enter the Web3 industry, he had a “decentralized” dream.

Tony also thinks that after a year of practice and observation, his initial prediction of the development process of Web3 in Hong Kong is still optimistic, Hong Kong has its own rhythm, and will not be shifted by capital or regulatory intentions. Hong Kong will do things more solidly, efficiency is not high, the policy is using a kind of long-term thinking to promote.

That kind of one-day-in-coinland, one-year-on-earth clockwork is going to have to be loosened a bit, and people in the industry might have to learn to slow down in Hong Kong.



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