Hong Kong banks be "ordered" to support the cryptocurrency industry
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has recently exerted pressure on three major issuing banks in Hong Kong, namely HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Bank of China (Hong Kong), to open their banking services to accommodate clients from the rapidly growing cryptocurrency industry.
The Hong Kong government has been actively promoting the development of the cryptocurrency sector. The HKMA recently sent inquiries to these three banks, questioning why they do not accept cryptocurrency-related businesses as clients. The HKMA encouraged the banks to conduct due diligence on potential customers without imposing "unnecessary burdens" on them, especially those "seeking opportunities to establish offices in Hong Kong."
Historically, these three banks have avoided conducting business with cryptocurrency exchanges due to concerns that if the exchange platforms are used for money laundering or other illegal activities, the banks themselves could face significant risks, including hefty fines, if their procedures are found to be faulty.
I have a friend who informed me that he simply transferred tens of thousands of Hong Kong dollars to a personal bank account in Hong Kong for stablecoin transactions, only to have his account canceled by the bank. He was left in despair. Recently, there have been rumors that the HKMA is encouraging these banks not to fear the cryptocurrency industry, which is considered significant support for the sector.
Indirectly encouraging cryptocurrency firms to establish a presence in Hong Kong
As I mentioned earlier, earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed lawsuits accusing two major global cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance and Coinbase, of violating U.S. securities laws. However, with a Hong Kong Legislative Council member inviting Coinbase and other exchanges to open offices in Hong Kong after the lawsuits, it shows a sign of enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency industry in Hong Kong.
Regarding the pressure from the HKMA, Standard Chartered responded to the reports by stating that they "regularly engage in dialogue with regulatory bodies on various topics." HSBC, on the other hand, stated that they are "closely monitoring the cryptocurrency market and related regulatory developments." Bank of China (Hong Kong) did not comment on the matter.
The HKMA's positive stance could have a significant impact on Hong Kong's cryptocurrency industry and indirectly encourage more cryptocurrency firms to establish their bases in the city. It can be seen as a morale boost for the cryptocurrency industry in Hong Kong!