In what might be considered a contrast to mainland China’s strict anti-crypto stance, Hong Kong’s goal of becoming a cryptocurrency hub is reportedly seeing subtle support from the Chinese government. This could be the beginning of a massive crypto expansion in the Asian market, as the “Chinese coin” narrative is increasingly gaining much traction.
Hong Kong SFC Proposes Crypto Regulations that Benefits Retail Investors
According to Bloomberg, Hong Kong is gearing up for a consultation process that could potentially legalize retail cryptocurrency trading in the region. The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) proposed new regulations on 20th February that require all centralized crypto exchanges operating in the region to obtain licenses from the regulator.
The proposal also suggested allowing retail traders to use licensed cryptocurrency trading platforms, citing public input that restricting access to crypto markets could drive Hong Kong residents to trade on unregulated foreign platforms.
Major Crypto Businesses Looking to Expand into Hong Kong
The recent regulatory changes have encouraged crypto businesses to look for opportunities to expand into Hong Kong. Huobi Global has declared its intention to acquire a local license and open a new exchange that caters to institutional and high-net-worth investors.
Justin Sun, the founder of Tron and adviser to Huobi, mentioned to Bloomberg that the company is planning to apply for a crypto trading license from the SFC. He stated that the new license would allow Huobi to offer a wider range of crypto trading and investment options to customers in Hong Kong. The new exchange, Huobi Hong Kong, will be specifically tailored to institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.
China Gives Green Light to Hong Kong’s Crypto Expansion?
Representatives from China’s Liaison Office have been attending Hong Kong’s crypto events, and their encounters with the local crypto businesses were reportedly positive. This is perceived by some as support for Hong Kong’s ambition to become a crypto hub, using its separate legal system and markets as a testbed.
Nick Chan, a National People’s Congress member and crypto lawyer, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that Hong Kong is free to pursue its own interests as long as it does not cross the line and endanger financial stability in China under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.