Hong Kong prepares to unveil its eagerly-awaited cryptocurrency licensing regime next month, aiming to solidify its position as Asia’s top destination for crypto exchanges and related businesses.
Hong Kong is preparing to introduce its highly anticipated cryptocurrency licensing framework next month, aiming to establish itself as the top crypto hub in Asia.
Julia Leung, the CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), has revealed that over 150 responses were received during the public consultation stage for the regulatory framework.
The forthcoming guidelines, scheduled for release in May, will offer direction for crypto exchanges planning to launch in Hong Kong.
Last year, these consultations were initiated to determine the most suitable way to provide retail investors with access to digital currencies and to explore the possibility of introducing crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within the region.
The new regulations are expected to permit retail investors to trade leading cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), beginning June 1.
At present, crypto exchanges are permitted to operate in Hong Kong, but investors with portfolios below HK$8 million (approximately $1 million) are subject to certain limitations under existing legislation.
In addition to the new guidelines, the regulator is examining several pilot projects aimed at evaluating the potential benefits of digital assets and their applications in financial markets, including green bond tokenization and the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for Hong Kong.
While Hong Kong strives to adopt a more relaxed attitude toward cryptocurrencies, questions remain regarding the potential impact on the industry’s relationship with mainland China, where cryptocurrency trading and bitcoin mining were initially prohibited in 2017.
BitMEX co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes has highlighted the importance of access to Chinese clientele for Hong Kong’s appeal to crypto businesses.
Nonetheless, Hong Kong authorities are optimistic about their endeavors. Christopher Hui, secretary for financial services and the treasury, expressed last month that Hong Kong is well-positioned to become a leading web3 hub in Asia and beyond.
More than 80 companies, including exchanges, blockchain infrastructure firms, security firms, wallets, and payment providers, have shown interest in setting up operations in Hong Kong.
In related developments, cryptocurrency exchange Bitget has unveiled a new trading platform, BitgetX Hong Kong, for its local users, with plans to apply for a license under the Hong Kong virtual asset service provider (VASP) regime.
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