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Hong Kong May Overturn Crypto Rules, Open Trading to Retail Investors
A new crypto program in Hong Kong may see retail investors welcomed back to the world of trading, but raises questions about China’s influence.
Hong Kong is planning to put new rules in place that would make retail crypto trading legal in the city, as part of its efforts to become a center for crypto, Bloomberg reported.
The program, which is expected to launch in March next year, would reportedly put in place mandatory licensing for crypto platforms.
But the timetable for such a move is not finalized and is still subject to public consultation.
It comes amid Hong Kong’s efforts to regain ground as a crypto hub after Covid-19, political turmoil, and regulation took the shine off the city’s reputation as a place for cryptopreneurs to do business.
The move to let retail traders back in on digital assets was teased by Elizabeth Wong, head of the fintech unit at the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), last week.
Speaking at an event, she said the government was considering its own crypto regulation bill, and that the SFC was looking to allow individuals to “directly invest into virtual assets.”
The city was in the past a powerhouse for crypto in Asia, playing host to the likes of Binance and Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX.
But a voluntary licensing regime introduced in 2018 effectively limited crypto platforms to institutional clients with portfolios worth at least HK$8 million ($1 million).
Allowing consumer-facing platforms to operate could represent a first step to winning back firms that have turned attention away from Hong Kong in recent years.