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Become Asia's Crypto Market Trading Center

On February 20th, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) initiated a consultation on the regulation of virtual asset trading platforms, sparking a lively debate among cryptocurrency investors. The consultation focused on two key points: whether licensed platform operators should be allowed to offer services to retail investors, and what investor protection measures should be implemented.

This indicates that the government has finally given the green light to retail investment in cryptocurrencies. Last year, I wrote an article recommending that the government fully open up cryptocurrency trading to promote Hong Kong as a true cryptocurrency hub. It appears that this time, the government finally sees the potential in this. 

Originally, only two virtual asset trading platforms in Hong Kong had obtained old licenses, limiting participation to professional investors, and both companies have not developed much business as of yet. Ever since the release of the "Policy Statement on the Regulation of Virtual Asset Trading Platforms" at the end of last year, I have been very curious about what form the new license application will take.

According to the consultation proposal, licensed exchanges must meet the following conditions:

  • ●  Regulations for establishing business relationships with customers, assessing user risks, and setting limits.
  • ●  Standards and review systems for listing currencies.
  • ●  Due diligence on listed currencies.
  • ●  Eligible large virtual assets (possibly currencies covered by mainstream indices).

Although the cryptocurrency license still has many restrictions, the government has finally opened up retail trading, allowing smaller investors to participate. Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region like Japan and Singapore have already established dedicated cryptocurrency licensing systems, which also have similar restrictions to ensure that investors are protected and prevent money laundering.

Opening up retail trading means that the general public is now allowed to invest and trade virtual assets. However, the licenses previously issued by the SFC to OSL and Hashkey are different from the new licenses that will be introduced soon, as they are only limited to a small circle of professional investors. To avoid confusion among retail investors, the government should educate the public on the differences between old and new licenses, and whether all exchanges can apply for the new license as long as they meet the requirements. 

The distinction between old and new licenses may cause some confusion. Investors may miss out on investment opportunities because they don’t know how to choose the right exchange. In addition, although the government has regulations in place to protect investors, these regulations may not be comprehensive and detailed enough and need to be further strengthened.

The Hong Kong cryptocurrency trading market has gradually become an important hub in the Asia-Pacific region, becoming a node in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency market in Asia. Especially after the loosening of policies and regulations, Hong Kong has become one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly regulatory regions in the Asia-Pacific region. This makes the city a perfect place for attracting crypto trading platforms to enter the Asian market. This also indicates that the Chinese may reestablish their relationship with virtual assets and that this policy is supported by the Chinese government. 

I feel very optimistic about Hong Kong’s future of becoming the next cryptocurrency trading and investment hub. This could become one of the city’s defining characteristics, similar to Macau’s reputation of being the gambling capital of Asia. Since Hong Kong is one of the major financial centers of Asia, it’s safe to say that its rich financial resources and technological advantages will quickly increase its prominence in the crypto trading market in the future. 


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