While Europeans keep bickering and try to shoot down the one bright spot they have, Estonia, Asia’s tigers are pouring resources in blockchain technology specifically and fintech more generally, trying to encourage one of the most innovative industries in the world.
They have been given a gift by China, which oblivious to what it had and still chained by that dead ideology of central planning moved to, in effect, as good as ban crypto in the country. Creating a boom in neighboring nations, especially South Korea.
The adoption of digital currencies in the wealthy and technologically advanced country is reaching higher levels than anywhere else following an announcement by Kakao, a South Korean internet giant, that they are to launch a crypto exchange.
The rise in popularity in South Korea coincided with China’s intervention earlier this year, but now appears to have taken a life of its own with demand skyrocketing as shown by trading volumes.
While Japan quickly moved in January to embrace this space with a bold legislative law that made digital currencies legal tender, a very first in the world. Some companies based in the country announced they were to accept digital currencies, while Bitflyer, Japan’s biggest exchange, has now grown so considerably they are eyeing the US market.
But if South Korea and Japan were the beneficiaries of China’s intervention in January, Hong Kong and Singapore are seemingly wondering whether they might benefit this time too.
Guided by Britain for 100 years, Honk Kong has grown form a backwaters to a shipping and banking hub, enjoying its own somewhat independent legal system.
They recently signed another agreement with Britain’s Financial Conducts Authority to facilitate expansion of British or Hong Kong based Fintech companies into each other’s markets.
Charles d’Haussy, head of fintech at InvestHK, a government economic development agency, says “Blockchain is a very high priority for us,” according to Bloomberg, which engaged in an analysis of the blockchain scene in Hong Kong, telling its readers:
“Hong Kong’s government has been throwing resources at the technology. The city’s monetary authority is developing its own digital currency and is testing blockchains for trade finance, mortgage applications and e-check tracking.”
Singapore is a natural competitor to Hong Kong, so being fairly close physically and sharing a somewhat similar history.
They made waves in this space back in June when the Singaporean Monetary Authority announced they had tokenized their dollars through an ethereum private blockchain, a world first at such level.
Showing they were somewhat ahead in some aspects, but the tigers also appear to be carving their own niche market of sorts, playing to their own strengths. Such as Hong Kong with shipping and supply chains.
Australia is somewhat different from the above four, but they did not waste much time to take advantage of the new opportunity provided by China with their parliament moving to remove double taxation of digital currencies in a clear signal the country is now open for business as far as this space is concerned.
It appears a general consensus is arising among these developed nations that they need to encourage innovation, both through legislation and research grants, to take advantage of new technology and to keep up with the times so as to not be left behind.