The Hong Kong Securities & Futures Professionals Association, an industry trade group, has suggested the city's authorities should consider creating an initial coin offering (ICO) portal.
ICOs are a method of fundraising, similar to initial public offerings (IPOs) that became popular shortly after the launch of Ethereum in 2015. Many of the most popular Web3 protocols got their start as ICOs, and while there was a ICO bust – because many were scams – during the 2017-2018 crypto winter, they turned out to be a good investment for many long-term holders.
The problem with ICOs, however, is that the majority, under current interpretations of the law, were flagrant violations of securities rules.
So-called "legal" ICOs, known as security token offerings (STO), which started around 2019-2020, weren't much of a hit with investors in Asia, as CoinDesk reported at the time. Many STO portals had minimal trading volume.
But times have changed, and with a bull market on the horizon, it could be the time to give legal ICOs another chance.