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First Mover Asia: Token2049 Conference Signals Singapore’s Resurgence as a Crypto Hub

Good luck trying to book a hotel in Singapore this week.

Token2049 is in town, followed by the Formula 1 race. Despite the bear market for crypto, organizers say there are over 7,000 people scheduled to attend and 2,000 companies represented.

Hotel prices are up nearly 70% from last year with the highest prices per night in a decade as visitors flock back to a Singapore free of COVID-19 restrictions. The event, which features developers and executives from leading Web3 and other blockchain-related companies, underscores not only the global return to normality but also Singapore’s resurgence as a crypto hub and business hub. It also highlights the different roads that Singapore and its perennial rival, Hong Kong, which is playing catch-up, have been traveling.

Singapore re-opened its borders and dropped most COVID-19 restrictions in March 2022. Hong Kong is now only doing so this month, perhaps egged on by its loss of the title of top financial hub in Asia to Singapore.

Another loss for Hong Kong is the Token2049 conference itself. Initially, this event was a London and Hong Kong affair until it was canceled twice in Hong Kong because of pandemic restrictions.

This year’s Singapore Fintech Festival and Hong Kong Fintech Week are actually scheduled to be overlapping events. But as CoinDesk has previously reported, these might be two different events entirely.

Hong Kong Fintech week is less about fintech and more about govtech: how financial technology can help Hong Kong and its firms be more efficient for Beijing’s vision of the "Greater Bay Area," the future tight integration of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau, along with several regional mainland cities.

Singapore’s festival, in contrast, is a much more international affair, judging by the speakers’ list.

Besides, anyone from overseas who wants to go to Hong Kong’s Fintech Week needs to arrive three days early as the current rules say no “maskless or group activities” (including restaurants and bars) for 72 hours. And there’s a required PCR test at the airport, and three more spread out during the first week.

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