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Hong Kong to adapt crypto regulations to evolving industry


Hong Kong's financial regulators are ready to adjust cryptocurrency regulations as the industry evolves, according to Finance Secretary Christopher Hui.

Hui stated that the HKMA and SFC will review market trends and amend regulations for VA-related activities as needed.

Hui's comments addressed potential changes to expedite crypto licensing and ease rules for intermediaries distributing crypto assets.

Hong Kong’s financial regulators are prepared to adjust their approach to cryptocurrency regulation as the industry develops, according to Finance Secretary Christopher Hui.

Speaking at a parliamentary session, Hui stated that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) would consider market trends when devising regulations. He said:

The HKMA and the SFC will keep in view market developments, and review the requirements on VA-related activities as appropriate.

Hui’s comments came in response to questions about potentially expediting the crypto licensing process and easing rules for intermediaries distributing crypto assets. He clarified that licensed corporations and registered institutions can distribute crypto-related products after notifying regulators, without needing to modify their licensing conditions.

This discussion follows the withdrawal of license applications by several major global crypto exchanges, including OKX, Gate.io, and HTX, ahead of a June 1 deadline set by the SFC. After this date, all crypto trading platforms operating in Hong Kong must be either licensed or “deemed-to-be-licensed” applicants.

The stringency of Hong Kong’s licensing regulations has drawn criticism from some quarters. Lawmaker Duncan Chiu expressed concerns that overly strict rules have deterred major global exchanges from entering the Hong Kong market. In a recent opinion piece, Chiu argued that these withdrawals have undermined confidence in Hong Kong’s efforts to establish itself as a Web3 hub.

Hong Kong’s crypto landscape

Hong Kong approved the launch of six spot Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) back in early May. The products in question were issued by China Asset Management (ChinaAMC), Bosera Asset Management, and Harvest Global Investments and allow exposure to crypto without technical expertise.

Earlier this month, Banque de France (BDF) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority also signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral collaboration on wholesale central bank digital currency and tokenization development. The two regulators are willing to explore interoperability between their digital currencies and cross-country transactions.

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Radek Zielinski
Tech Journalist

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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