It was Hong Kong where the renowned coffeehouse chain Starbucks took an initiative to embrace disruptive fintech technologies like bitcoin. However, the reality took a different course when it was found that the Starbucks’ staff was refusing to accept digital currency payments.
This reported case though seems minuscule, but revealed how the China’s special administrative region was lagging behind the world in terms of FinTech adoption. The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) today went a step further to confirm this scenario.
According to ASTRI, many financial institutions in the region still don’t understand Bitcoin’s underlying technology. The organization highlighted its participation by exemplifying the blockchain-based applications it is creating for mobile phone and Near Field Communications (NFC) based enterprise level solutions.
Blockchain technology has already proved itself to be more than capable while bringing a transformation to the banking and financial industry. If Hong Kong has to keep up with other financial powerhouses of the world like London and New York, then it has to innovate fast. Bitcoin technology is already being used for numerous purposes other than executing and recording bitcoin transactions. It is currently being worked upon by a banking consortium with over 43 international banks in it along with a fintech solutions company called R3CEV. Even the Australian Securities Exchange is upgrading its systems with blockchain based trade settlement system and more.
Even though Hong Kong has many bitcoin companies operating from its territory, the adoption of bitcoin tech has reportedly not been explored enough. According to the Director of Scientific Data and Information Security at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, the bitcoin’s blockchain technology can be used to certify transactions in real-time. The transparency of bitcoin blockchain will make it easily viewable by anyone, which will help curb money laundering and other illegal transactions. People will definitely not think of making such transactions on a platform that can be accessed by anyone and someone or other may point out the discrepancies in the transaction data.
The use of bitcoin technology to curb money laundering and other illegal transactions is just a tip of a long list of applications it can be used in. It is already being reported by the Santander Group in one of the research that the use of blockchain technology in the banking sector will reduce the transaction, operation, and regulatory costs by anywhere between $15-20 billion by the year 2022.
It is time Hong Kong adopted the latest technology in fintech sector if it intends to continue as one of the financial powerhouses in Asia – Asia Pacific.