CoinDesk executive director of global content Emily Parker discusses a high-level overview on the state of crypto adoption in Asia, after returning from a whirlwind trip overseas.
If you have been wondering where Emily Parker has been for the last multiple number of weeks. She's been traveling around Asia and has uh many, many different insights to share on crypto in Asia. Emily, first of all, welcome back. It is wonderful to have you back on the show this week. Secondly, tell, tell us about what's going on over there. Yeah. Well, it's great to be back. So, yeah, I definitely was all over Asia from Japan to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea. You know, we've talked a lot about the show. Noel just mentioned, you know, Asia is a very dynamic region when it comes to crypto and the vibe is just so different, right? Because in the US, it feels like all we're talking about is like the latest sec lawsuit and you know, which team has decided to avoid the US where in Asia, there's just a lot more positive energy. As far as I observed, I spoke at quite a few events all over the region, several in Japan, Korean Blockchain week, a coin fest in Indonesia also in Singapore. And you know, there was just so much energy in all these places and I think it's a much more optimistic outlook in Asia, I would say so a little bit about Hong Hong Kong because uh you know, we, we're hearing about Hong Kong becoming a, a crypto hub. But last I checked the, the government of China isn't exactly uh you know, putting up uh you know, monuments to Satoshi Nakamoto. So explain how it's the approach in Hong Kong. Uh I is, is this a real thing? I mean, is this, is it or is it just sort of like? Yeah, yeah, we like crypto. Sure. Yeah, that's I mean, that's kind of the big question, right? And that's one of the reasons why I actually wanted to go to Hong Kong to ask that very question. Is this a real thing or not? There's been a lot of headlines about China Hong Kong's emergence as this crypto hub. And yes, I mean the question you are asking is the right question. Now, there's a lot of different opinions about what this means. I think the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that Hong Kong is a sandbox of some sort, right? So clearly this would not be happening in Hong Kong if mainland China didn't at least support it in some way, right? So you know, it's some sort of sandbox. The question is to what end does this mean that you know, we're suddenly going to see crypto exchanges flourishing on mainland in mainland China not necessarily, but I do think that there's some element of perhaps mainland China reasoning that you know, it's Hong Kong is a fine center, it's been known as a financial center. So it's ok to let crypto exist in some form there. Now, I think the important thing to understand about Hong Kong and I think this gets lost sometimes in the English media headlines is that you know Hong Kong might be crypto friendly or crypto hub, but that does not mean that it is easy to do crypto business there. In fact, quite the opposite. Right now, there are two exchanges licensed in Hong Kong and there's a lot of restrictions on can happen at these exchanges. There's restrictions on how many tokens can be listed. You know, they they're basically limited to spot and you know, that's something Hong Kong is extremely strict, very strict rules about, you know, cold storage about custody. So it's not like you could just go to Hong Kong and do whatever you want. And I think this is a really important thing that should be emphasized that Hong Kong is allowing to crypto to flourish in a very strict regulated way. Emily, I got to ask you about NFTS, right? Web three gaming seems to be taking off in Asia, NFTS seem to have kind of very little interest when we compare interest a year or two years ago. But the entertainment industry in Asia is, is one that I think is just so vibrant. And for anyone who's ever been there, you really experience this like fan engagement that I don't think we see to that level, that same level in the US are what's happening with NFTS there. Is it the same thing we're experiencing over here in North America? So generally, there is sort of a, a decline in interest in NFTS worldwide, which we've talked about a lot on the show. And I definitely felt that in Asia, just because, for example, on my last trip to Japan, I felt like, which was, you know, over eight months ago, the trip before this one, you know, I felt like there was a lot more excitement about NFTS. Now, you don't hear about them as much. But I think like when it comes to, for example, Web three gaming, which is definitely something that is such a hot topic in Asia, like a ridiculously hot topic in Asia. I felt like that was all I kept hearing about, especially people talking about Japan and Korea. That's where you start hearing a little bit more about NFTS and how NFTS could play a role there. I think Japan is poised to be again a leader in the NFT area. For example, they have like NFT guidelines. You know, I think Japan is really looking at how because Japan has so much amazing content and IP and I think that many in Japan, including at the politician level recognize that NTS are actually an opportunity to sort of further monetize Japanese cultural content. And IP, OK, so looking at uh throughout your trip, what country was most friendly, what country was least friendly? Uh What country is more optimistic about crypto? Which country is pessimistic? Well, so I would say most of the places. So, ok, I think we have to define what crypto friendly means because again, I think this term is misused. Crypto friendly does not mean crypto easy, it does not mean you can go and do whatever you want. In fact, the most crypto friendly countries are probably among the most strict in the world. I think crypto friendly means crypto clarity. And so in that sense, I would say that, you know Hong Kong is crypto friendly, but again, it doesn't mean you can just go to Hong Kong and do whatever you know, Singapore is another example where Singapore is often portrayed as a very crypto friendly jurisdiction. But I'm not even sure if like Singapore would call itself that because again, Singapore has said very clearly that they are not fans of, you know, retail speculation. And again, there are very strict rules in Singapore. Now, I I think in terms of like countries that are the most cautious about crypto of the ones that I visited, I'd say Korea is probably a little bit more on the fence. You know, Korea, we've talked about this before on the show, the Terra luna shock hit Korea very, very hard. I think Korea is emerging from that, but there are, there's still a little bit of a shadow and I do think that Korean regulators are very cautious, especially about speculation in retail trade. All right, Anna Lee, thanks for that. It's great to have you back.