ZA Bank goes into crypto – will Web 3 rise from its ashes?

Published: April 13, 2023

min read

At a time when everyone eyes anything connected with Web 3 as if it were something the cat dragged in, here is some news!

ZA Bank, a Hong Kong-based Bank has been allowed to serve as the settlement bank for regulated Web 3 companies in the city. This was announced at Hong Kong’s Web 3 festival, an event which is backed by the region’s government. This festival has caught the attention of crypto startups and institutions from all over Asia.

ZA Bank is one of Hong Kong’s first virtual banks and was established by the Chinese online insurer ZhongAn in 2017. ZA Bank will facilitate crypto-fiat conversions in two licensed exchanges in Hong Kong, HashKey and OSL. At these regulated exchanges, customers can swap crypto into fiat currencies.

When more companies get ‘digital assets permits’ from the Hong Kong authorities, ZA Bank will facilitate transactions for more crypto exchanges for them. ZA Bank has also started to provide basic banking services to local Web 3 startups – something that traditional financial institutions fail to do.

Hong Kong, incidentally is trying to position itself as a crypto-friendly alternative to the US and Singapore. It hopes to be the playing field for Chinese crypto companies as it is illegal to trade crypto. In keeping with this goal, Hong Kong has been working on building up its digital assets regulatory framework, and hopes to legalize retail trading of major crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

As Hong Kong is stepping up efforts to cultivate a Web 3-friendly environment, ZA Bank’s online account opening for Web 3 startups represents a major step forward in the integration of traditional banking services with the Web 3 world.

Ronald Iu,

CEO of ZA Bank

Implications on Web 3

About a year ago, Web 3 was the next big thing! It managed to raise massive funding and promised to change lives as we know it.

But it bombed. Big time!

Crypto currencies got a very negative tag and after some scams and frauds, investors started to back away. Big names that had exploded into the metaverse and Web 3 started to step back.

And then came AI – this was now the new kid on the block and now has everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing over it as if it were a child prodigy!

Against this backdrop, ZA Bank makes this announcement.

Will the crypto-trading pave the way for other immersive and interactive experiences in metaverse and Web 3?

Is Web 3 able to compete with the smarter, brighter and the oh-so-glorious Artificial Intelligence that the (fickle) world is so besotted by?

It is true that there are some big brands that still dabble in the metaverse – Absolut Vodka at Coachella, being one. On the other hand the mammoth Disney exited the metaverse and even dismantled the high-flying team that it had put together to run this, just a few months earlier.

While this initiative by Hong Kong and ZA Bank may sound like Web 3 is still alive and well, is it too little, too late? A desperate “hail Mary” that in all likelihood will amount to nothing? Or is it the re-awakening of the phenomenon that it once promised to be?

Maybe that’s a question for ChatGPT to answer!


Grace Wang

Grace is an advertising professional who keeps abreast of the latest and greatest in the marketing and advertising space. She is a traditionalist in lifestyle and modernist in her profession. Outside of marketing and advertising, she helps younger generation try and adapt traditional lifestyle for a healthy living.


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