A new Hong Kong-based fund is set to raise $100 million to invest in crypto companies as the city is accelerating toward its goal of becoming a global crypto hub with a more friendly regulatory stance.
The ProDigital Future Fund has already secured $30 million in commitments from major Asian investment firms, including Sunwah Kingsway Capital Holdings and Golin International Group, according to a Thursday report by Bloomberg.
The fund is led by Ben Ng, a general partner at the Asian private equity firm SAIF Partners, and longtime tech investor Curt Shi.
The new fund comes as Hong Kong has been aggressively pursuing ambitions to become a global crypto hub. The approach is in sharp contrast to that of global regulators, which have ramped up their scrutiny of the industry following the collapse of FTX and other high-profile crypto companies.
“I understand the concerns, but nothing is perfect given the complexity of the crypto economy and current geopolitical situation,” Shi told Bloomberg. “Our strategy is to continue to see how things go.”
ProDigital Future will invest in early-stage and developing startups, particularly tech companies with ties to China transitioning into Web3, according to the report.
The fund has already invested in six digital-asset projects, including metaverse company GigaSpace and One Future Football, a digital football league from Australia, currently operating in stealth mode.
Shi noted that while the fundraising process has been “relatively smooth,” investors are cautious about putting their money into crypto projects. He added that not only Hong Kong investors but also some family offices from China, Australia, and Singapore have also participated.
“I believe that Hong Kong will continue to have a certain degree of openness and flexibility. While our portfolio and fund will embrace Hong Kong and its policies, we will continue to have a presence in Australia, Singapore, as well as in Europe and the US.”
Hong Kong Strives to Create a Friendly Environment For Crypto Firms
As reported, Hong Kong officials plan to host a meeting between crypto companies and bankers in an attempt to ease financing for the sector, which suggests the city is determined to tackle various difficulties that crypto companies face when trying to set up corporate banking accounts.
Furthermore, a number of Chinese state-owned banks in Hong Kong, including the Bank of Communications, Bank of China, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, have either started offering banking services to local crypto firms or have made inquiries.
Last week, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christian Hui, said that more than 80 companies working in the digital asset space had shown interest in establishing a presence in the city since October 2022.
The surge comes as the city has recently adopted a more crypto-friendly stance in a bid to reclaim its position as a global crypto hub and attract more crypto companies, specifically those facing a difficult time operating from mainland China.
On the other hand, regulators in the US, specifically the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), have launched an aggressive crackdown on the crypto industry.