BY Risen Jayaseelan - October 15, 2018
Hong Kong promises comprehensive crypto exchange guidelines
Hong Kong’s top regulator has said that no country in the world today has sufficiently comprehensive regulation for crypto exchanges.
“No other international market currently has a comprehensive regulation framework for these cryptocurrency platforms. We need to see if and how these platforms can be regulated to a standard that is comparable to that of a licensed trading venue, while at the same time ensuring investors interest are being protected.”
This was stated by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) outgoing chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing in an interview with South China Morning Post.
Tong also stated the following:
- SFC is exploring ways to regulate the exchanges operating out of Hong Kong in order to improve investor protection
- SFC does not think that imposing a total ban on exchanges is the right approach, considering the platforms can cross national boundaries
- SFC is in a hurry to get some formal regulations in place, in light of increasing trades in cryptocurrencies
- SFC realises that exchanges would not fit into existing requirements for licenses under them
The SFC has issued several warnings in recent months for investors to be wary of trading on them, and to the operators, too, that they must in turn abide strictly to SFC regulations.
SFC however, lags behind regulators like the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which last November issued its guidelines for projects wishing to conduct initial coin offerings or ICOs.
MAS’ bold move to state in its guidelines that ‘utility tokens’ can be deemed unregulated in the sense that they are not securities has catalysed the island nation to become a hub for ICOs.
Hong Kong and Singapore are perennial competitors to claim top spots as financial and tech hubs of Asia.
In August, Hong Kong published a list of professionals it wishes to attract. This included experts in the field of distributed technology.
Last month it was reported that BitMex, a popular crypto exchange, moved its headquarters to the Cheung Kong Centre, forking out a whopping US$573,200 rental a month to physically place itself alongside global financial institutions such as Bank of America, Barclays and Goldman Sachs.