Hong Kong Regulator Reminds Local Banks There Is No Ban on Crypto Firms

Crypto companies have complained that opening bank accounts in the jurisdiction is difficult.

AccessTimeIconApr 28, 2023 at 7:54 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 28, 2023 at 2:18 p.m. UTC

Hong Kong is reminding banks that they can provide services to virtual asset companies amid complaints about the difficulty of opening bank accounts in the jurisdiction, its de facto central bank said on Thursday.

“There is no legal and regulatory requirement prohibiting banks in Hong Kong from providing banking services to virtual assets (VA) related entities,” the deputy chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Arthur Yuen, wrote in a column published on the regulator's website.

Yuen wrote that the HKMA has reminded banks to adhere to a “risk-based approach” when conducting due diligence and refrain from one-size-fits-all approaches to rejecting account opening applications.

He acknowledges that some virtual businesses may present higher anti-money laundering risks and banks may be more cautious when processing account opening applications. He also notes that banking staff have less experience in dealing with new markets and may be turning customers away to avoid hassle.

Hong Kong has been giving virtual asset services providers more regulatory clarity in a bid to attract more companies to the jurisdiction.

The regulator released a circular on the same day to clarify best practices for offering banking services.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Lavender Au

Lavender Au is a CoinDesk reporter with a focus on regulation in Asia. She holds BTC, ETH, NEAR, KSM and SAITO.