Getting to Know Our New Board Director – Mr Ken Lo
Elected to the Board of the HKSI Institute in December 2022, Mr Ken Lo is an esteemed figure in the blockchain industry and the Deputy Chairman of BC Technology Group, the parent company of OSL, a leading Fintech and digital asset firm. He is a seasoned expert with two decades of rich experience in management consulting and strategy execution, and an influential thought leader in the blockchain space.
His insightful perspectives on blockchain trends have not only been highlighted at major industry events such as Hong Kong's Belt and Road Conference and Hong Kong Fintech Week, but also at the Greenwich Economic Forum and through media appearances on platforms like Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, RTHK, and TVB. Ken's professional journey began in 2013 when he co-founded ANX International and then BC Technology Group and has earned recognition as a distinguished leader in the digital assets industry.
Q: What initially drew you to the world of digital assets and blockchain technology?
A: My initiation into the world of digital assets began in 2013 when I started trading bitcoins and arbitraging between markets. I was captivated by the speed and efficiency of the technology - while wire transfers took weeks, bitcoin settlements were completed in just 10 minutes. I saw an opportunity to make buying and selling bitcoins easier and, despite the fact that few people knew what bitcoins were at the time, I took the plunge. My entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a fascination for this bordering-on-crazy new technology, led me down the path of digital assets and blockchain technology.
Q: Can you share one of your key achievements in the field of digital assets that you are particularly proud of?
A: In my early days at ANX, my first digital assets company, we introduced several innovations. These included the Hong Kong's first Bitcoin ATM, the world's first bitcoin debit card, and one of the first physical retail bitcoin stores. We even distributed bitcoin-filled red packets during a Chinese New Year, marking the largest bitcoin giveaway in Hong Kong.
At BC Technology Group, my second digital assets company, we achieved another significant milestone. Our subsidiary, OSL, was the first to secure an SFC license for regulated digital assets trading. This achievement was more than just a first; it was a testament to our team's dedication to compliance and the highest standards of regulation. It also marked BC Technology Group's unique position as the first listed Fintech digital assets company in Hong Kong to be audited globally by PwC, and garner support from traditional financial investment banks and institutional investors.
In addition, OSL successfully developed and launched a SaaS technology platform for digital assets trading. This platform has been licensed by institutions like DBS and Standard Chartered. We also entered into an exclusive agreement with Interactive Brokers to handle all their digital assets trading through OSL in Hong Kong.
Q: How can digital assets contribute to the broader financial ecosystem in Hong Kong, and what do you envision for the future of blockchain and digital assets?
A: Digital assets have the potential to revolutionise the financial ecosystem by offering faster, more efficient, and secure transactions. They can create new investment opportunities, democratise access to financial services, and stimulate economic growth. Hong Kong, a traditional financial centre, is now evolving into a digital Fintech hub, leveraging its robust regulatory environment and thriving Fintech scene. The digitisation of traditional finance will drive costs down further, increase transactions and liquidity, and bring the global financial systems closer than ever before.
Looking towards the future, blockchain and digital assets are more than just technologies – they represent a paradigm shift in the way we transact and store value. I envision more mainstream adoption of these technologies across various industries, not just in finance. This will be facilitated by further improvements in scalability, security, and regulatory clarity. Ultimately, blockchain and digital assets have the potential to democratise finance, promote economic inclusivity, and create a more transparent and efficient global economy.
Q: What advice would you give to those considering entering the field of digital assets, particularly young and aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Venturing into the field of digital assets is an exciting endeavour that requires a deep understanding of the technology, market dynamics, and regulatory landscape. It's a rapidly evolving industry with enormous potential, so staying informed about the latest trends and developments is essential. Don't be afraid to take calculated risks and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. However, always prioritise security, compliance, and have a well-thought-out investment strategy and risk management plan given the market's volatility.
For young entrepreneurs in this space, remember to stay curious, be resilient, and never stop learning. Don't be disheartened by failures – they're an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey. Align your business with a purpose that goes beyond profit. In doing so, you'll not only create value for your stakeholders, but also make a positive impact on society. Finding this alignment can bring tremendous self-satisfaction, knowing that your work contributes meaningfully to the world.
Q: How do you think the HKSI Institute could contribute to supporting the growth and development of the financial services industry?
A: The HKSI Institute plays a critical role in supporting the growth and development of the financial services industry. The Institute's educational programmes, professional qualifications, and membership services are essential in fostering a well-trained and competent workforce. Furthermore, the Institute's thought leadership and policy advocacy help shape the strategic direction of the industry.
By actively driving and participating in community events, HKSI Institute can increase its engagement with industry professionals and stakeholders, understand their needs and challenges, and accordingly shape its programmes and initiatives. This ensures that the Institute remains responsive and relevant, helping to empower professionals and facilitate the ongoing evolution and growth of Hong Kong's financial services industry.
Q: What would you like to accomplish as Board Director of the HKSI Institute?
A: I plan to leverage my practical and pragmatic experience in the digital assets field to help the Institute and its members cut through the noise in the industry, identify trends, and understand the technology, as well as the regulatory and ethical considerations that come with it. I also plan to bring HKSI Institute members closer to the digital assets community through events and introductions, sharing first-hand experiences and insights. This way, we can empower our members to confidently navigate the digital assets sector, contribute to its growth in Hong Kong, and be prepared for the integration of digital assets into everyday life.
Mr Ken Lo (right) with the First Runner-Up of the HKSI Institute Case Competition 2023.