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Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Slammed For Hong Kong Comments, Told He ”Doesn’t Understand” City’s Situation

Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik Buterin

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Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was slammed for comments he made about Hong Kong and told he doesn’t understand the city that’s a Special Administrative Region of China.

Local lawmaker Johnny Ng took Buterin to task for questioning whether Hong Kong will remain a crypto-friendly hub in the longer term.

“He does not understand the situation in Hong Kong,” Ng tweeted. “I sincerely invite Mr. Vitalik to come to Hong Kong to understand the situation. I am willing to coordinate with relevant institutions and enterprises to share the situation in Hong Kong with them.”

Buterin had said earlier at a conference in Singapore that crypto companies considering establishing businesses in Hong Kong would need to be confident about it remaining hospitable to the industry in the longer term, not just now.

“Obviously it’s very friendly now but the big question that I’m asking, and that I think anyone is asking, is how stable is the level of friendliness,” he said. Businesses “would want to have some confidence, not just that it’s friendly now, but that it will continue to be friendly years from now when all kinds of unknown, regulatory and political and other kinds of events are going to happen,” he added.

Hong Kong aims to become one of the world’s preeminent crypto hubs, and in October last year laid out a blueprint for developing the industry.

Hong Kong was again ranked the world’s most crypto-ready destination in the world in 2023 for a second year, according to a new report by Forex Suggest, a foreign exchange education platform.

Vitalik Buterin Wrong To Say Hong Kong’s Relationship With China Is ”Complicated”

Ng also took Buterin to task for saying that he didn’t understand very well the ”complicated” relationship between Hong Kong and China.

“The country and Hong Kong do not have the complications Vitalik said,” Ng tweeted. “The central government has always expressed support for the development of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong, so Hong Kong has room to formulate policies on virtual assets and welcomes global compliance companies to develop in Hong Kong.”

While Buterin didn’t elaborate on why he questioned Hong Kong’s long-term commitment to the crypto industry, his concerns may have related to a swingeing crackdown on the technology industry by China in recent years, and the fact that cryptocurrencies are banned in China itself.

The abrupt implementation of a national security law in Hong Kong in 2020 to help it quell student demonstrations has caused many businesses to reduce their exposure to Hong Kong. The vague law gives the city’s authorities the power to deem almost anything a threat to national security.

Still, the lawmaker remains optimistic on how committed the city is to the crypto industry.

“Hong Kong’s policies and laws will not change overnight,” he said. “All relevant strategies and regulations have gone through major social consensus and complete procedures. Therefore, I can tell Mr. Vitalik that Hong Kong’s policies are very stable.”

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