Empowering Enterprise Blockchain Integration with Hyperledger and R3By Oct 17, 2019 4 Min Read
The emerging crypto banks
Cyberport has the right and dynamic mix of blockchain and crypto companies, including Coinsuper, Hashkey Pro, and ZhongAn – which has heavily engaged in the crypto custodian space. There are many emerging industries in Cyberport, other than virtual banks and virtual insurance companies, there has been a new emerging sector – crypto banks.
There are only two crypto banking licenses received in the world, both by Swiss firms, Sygnum AG, and Seba Crypto. Lam mentioned that one of these banks will be coming to Cyberport and will be expanding in Hong Kong. Sygnum already has offices in Switzerland and Singapore.
Lam said that this move will create a lot of “ripples in the pond.” Cyberport and this unnamed crypto bank will be working closely together to create something “very significant.”
FinTech collaborations in Hong Kong
Cyberport Builds the Global FinTech Network. Cyberport
“We sometimes refer to ourselves as ‘Hong Kong Inc.,’ meaning that we are the company of Hong Kong,” stated Lam. He refers to the collaborations and partnerships that Cyberport has gained through these years, which has influenced Cyberport’s reputation.
“Less than a month ago, Cyberport and collaborating partners were involved in a roadshow to promote Hong Kong’s FinTech week in Shenzhen.” Hong Kong’s FinTech Week is Asia’s most anticipated international financial technology event every year, gathering entrepreneurs, start-ups, and regulators.
Cyberport, being the digital flagship of Hong Kong has gained collaborations with other government-linked organizations, such as InvestHK. InvestHK is the department of the Hong Kong government responsible for foreign direct investment and for promoting Hong Kong’s status as the leading international business hub in Hong Kong.
Cyberport has also been working with InvestHK to help the ten British companies that have been selected by InvestHK to expand to Hong Kong, which will help grow Cyberport’s FinTech cluster, as suggested by Lam.
FinTech bridge with the UK
The Hong Kong government and the United Kingdom entered into a FinTech Bridge Agreement in September 2017, to boost collaborations in the two economies to promote financial innovation.
Cyberport has been regularly creating FinTech delegations in the United Kingdom, as the UK plays a significant role in the FinTech space. When comparing the growth and innovation of the FinTech industry with the UK, it is clear that Hong Kong is still catching up.
“They have PSD2 (the second payment services directive), open API (application programming interface), and they already have 39 virtual banks, where Hong Kong currently only has 8. We are catching up, we want to promote our start-ups to expand to the UK, to ride on their own unique ecosystem and to thrive there,” said Lam.
Lam, on behalf of Cyberport, visited the UK in May earlier this year for delegations and will be revisiting the UK later this month for the same mission.
Cyberport’s Regulatory Connections
The securities and futures regulatory body in Hong Kong, the Securities Futures Commission (SFC), often meets with the Cyberport team for “off-the-record meetings,” including a blockchain roundtable with key industry players. Crypto exchanges, major blockchain investors, start-ups, and key stakeholders are also involved in these meetings.
“At the moment, the most important thing is to start a culture of open communication. We intend to have that going every quarter,” stated Lam. The SFC prefers a private and closed-door environment for them to share their experiences, and they prefer a close environment for “better quality answers and atmosphere for the conversation.”
With the support of the HKMA, Cyberport has been introduced to several partners for numerous collaborations. According to Lam, Cyberport helped to create soft lending programs for FinTech start-ups to help them to expand to Shenzhen.
Lam elaborated on their collaboration with the HKMA, “they provide us venues like co-working spaces, but they also have the expertise and also the talent to help with projects.”
“Our partners are capable of providing quality talent such as programmers to help with and to kickstart projects. That is the beauty of these collaborations,” said Lam.
Supporting blockchain enterprise adoption
Cyberport has been supporting start-ups of many industries, and specifically blockchain for several years. Lam commented, “blockchain is still a young and relatively new concept to many, for enterprises and large companies to understand and digest how they can integrate with the new technology will need to take some time.”
Lam suggests that more education is needed for enterprise decision-makers to understand the benefits and to wait and see how blockchain can help them. On the topic of current enterprise blockchain adoption, Lam said, “We talked to PwC, and they told us that once they have blockchain, their job is done. They won’t have a future because around ten years down the road; you can expect taxes being done on blockchain. Audit function will also be removed because, on the blockchain, it’s self-audited.” Lam illustrated that companies such as PwC could provide a lot of advice on how to manage AUMs instead of just providing audit services. These companies can also offer advice on “how to do taxes better in a more efficient way.”
In order for the public to understand blockchain, a lot more technical education is needed. “We work with these two organizations [Hyperledger and Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium] and asked their experts to provide training for programmers and developers in Cyberport so that they can help and speed up processes and build new blockchain solutions,” explained Lam.
Lam mentioned that Cyberport is working with r3 and ConsenSys as well as other prominent players in the blockchain industry. “They are very eager and helpful, and they understand that it is still relatively new [technology] and we need to collaborate and find better ways to educate and make the market more efficient,” said Lam.