While the war on crypto in the US commanded by generals SEC chair Gary Gensler and Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren is in full assault mode, it seems like the Bank of China, via Hong Kong, is making strides to embrace the industry.

If the dark forces of Mordor, er, certain US officials, are ultimately successful in their now very public anti-crypto mission, then US-based crypto firms may well find themselves a safe haven over in Hong Kong’ bustling financial centre. Which was an extremely unlikely prospect not so long ago.

Much like Europe (its MiCA crypto-regulatory legislation is set to come into law in December), Hong Kong has crypto-industry regulatory clarity firmly on its agenda. Meanwhile, it has been opening its arms to cryptocurrency business, including retail trading.

And here’s some fresh eye-opening, hopium-pipe-stuffing news for global crypto investors.


Bank of China’s investment arm makes crypto move

According to a press release sent into the crypto media wilds on Monday, the Chinese majority state-owned Bank of China’s investment-banking arm BOCI has issued tokenised securities on the Ethereum blockchain in Hong Kong.

Totalling CNH 200 million (US$28 million) in value, the “structured digital notes” are underwritten by the Swiss banking titan UBS and have been placed with clients in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the BOCI, it’s a big deal because it’s the first time a Chinese financial institution has issued tokenised securities on a public blockchain in Hong Kong.

While the narrative of China re-adjusting its stance on crypto has plenty of sceptics at this stage, given the superpower’s hostility to the industry in the past, at the very least, this does look like a toe dip to test the waters.

America’s official shunning of the industry, if that’s what’s playing out, could be China’s or at the very least, Hong Kong’s gain.

This development further affirms Hong Kong’s ambitions to become a global crypto hub.

“We are encouraged by the evolution of Hong Kong’s digital economy and are committed to promoting the digital transformation and innovative development of Hong Kong’s financial industry,” Ying Wang, deputy chief executive at BOCI, said in a statement.


Coinbase invited to set up in Hong Kong

Meanwhile, if you needed further confirmation of Hong Kong’s crypto stance, and potentially China’s, the Coinbase exchange, which is currently being sued by the SEC in the US for alleged securities infractions, has been officially invited to set up shop in the special administrative region.

“I hereby offer an invitation to welcome all global virtual asset trading operators including @coinbase to come to HK for application of official trading platforms and further development plans,” wrote Hong Kong legislative council member Johnny Ng in a tweet on the weekend.

In the meantime, Coinbase has indicated it intends to keep expanding further overseas, but also plans to fight the SEC’s lawsuit.