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Hong Kong launches ‘CyberDefender’ metaverse platform to explore Web3

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Hong Kong has emerged as a global hub for Web3 and metaverse startups in recent years, and it’s now launching a metaverse platform to educate its residents about the benefits and risks of these emerging technologies.

The cybersecurity bureau of the Hong Kong Police launched CyberDefender this week, the latest effort to fight the rising digital asset and Web3 crime in the city-state. The platform is intended to “enlighten the public about the threats and opportunities linked with Web3 and the metaverse, raise their awareness of new technology crimes, and bring them new experience.”

Hong Kong has continued to invest in and attract digital assets, Web3, blockchain, and metaverse firms in recent years. The city-state has prohibited banks from denying VASPs any services, issued new guidelines for VASP licensing, and is diving deeper into CBDCs. Its most recent move is expected to give retail traders access to digital asset exchanges.

CyberDefender is its latest endorsement of the industry. The platform came with three virtual event venues which residents can explore to learn about the metaverse.

In an online event to announce the platform, the chief inspector of the cybersecurity bureau Ip Cheuk-yu spoke about the risks of the metaverse. He stated that all crime happening in cyberspace could be replicated in the metaverse, from investment scams and hacks to theft and sexual offenses.

“The decentralized nature of virtual assets in Web3 may also increase the likelihood of cyber criminals targeting end point devices, virtual asset wallets and smart contracts,” Ip stated.

Hong Kong has seen a rise in digital asset crimes in the past year as adoption continues to soar. Police recorded some HK$1.7 billion (US$216.6 million) stolen in digital currency scams in 2022, twice the losses the year prior. In Q1 this year, the Hong Kong Police received 663 complaints with a total loss of $73 million, a 75% increase from Q1 last year.

Criminals exploited Hong Kong residents’ “lack of knowledge about virtual assets and lured them into non-existent investment activities.” CyberDefender will go a long way in boosting digital asset knowledge for the residents and help curb BTC crimes, the police believe.

Experts predict Hong Kong to become the global Web3 and digital currency hub. The U.S. is losing credibility with its regulation paralysis, and others like London, Singapore, Paris, and Dubai have yet to accrue the numbers to compete with Hong Kong.

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