Hong Kong’s Approach to Crypto Regulation Could Attract Capital, Talent to Asia: Bernstein

The Securities and Futures Commission is adopting a “regulate to protect” approach to digital assets, the report said.

AccessTimeIconFeb 21, 2023 at 10:04 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 4:29 p.m. UTC

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has taken a “regulate to protect” approach to cryptocurrencies, contrasting with recent action in the U.S. of regulation by enforcement, Bernstein said in a research report Monday.

The broker says this could be a “critical fork in the road” for the cryptocurrency industry, which could lead to capital and talent moving to Asia as a crypto hub.

The SFC on Monday published its proposed rules for virtual asset trading platforms and is seeking public comment. It plans to allow retail investors access to licensed exchanges, subject to restrictions, the report said, reasoning that investors are better off dealing with licensed venues rather than offshore and unregulated players.

Trading in crypto derivatives remains off the table for now as the SFC has deferred the decision on allowing such instruments to a later point in time.

The new licensing regime is expected to go live June 1, with a 12-month transition period for existing crypto exchanges. Exchanges that are not already operating in Hong Kong will have to be fully compliant before they start trading.


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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.