Crypto-friendly Hong Kong is still struggling to give its citizens access to cryptocurrency trading, even as other jurisdictions “take a step back,” according to the chairman of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK).
Speaking to Cointelegraph at the Hong Kong WOW Summit in March, FTAHK Chairman Neil Tan said while Singapore and the United States is apparently retreat “Hong Kong Goes Ahead” since Allowing Retail Cryptocurrency Trading
A licensing regime for crypto exchanges will come into force on June 10, and Tan said it “will also include retail”. The license guidelines are he is expected to be released sometime in May.
“If there is access to [crypto] in a legal and regulated way, then I’m sure the participants will come. It’s ‘build it and they will come’ because there are no other options. The options are actually shrinking.”
In February, the regional securities regulator proposed retail permit traders approach licensed crypto platforms in their Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licensing regime proposals.
It noted that denying access could drive traders to unregulated overseas platforms. Currently, these platforms can only serve accredited professional investors.
In January, Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) director-general Julia Leung Fung-yee told retailers would be limited to “highly liquid” digital assets, but offered no further explanation.
Along with providing what many consider to be attractive legal framework for crypto, Hong Kong is also focusing efforts on attracting talent and infrastructure providers – what Tan called the “back end”.
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He added that both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments recognize the opportunities in the region and are taking steps to support incoming talent.
“There’s a lot of talent across the border and there’s a lot of unemployment right now,” Tan said of China. “There is a lot of talent that comes from Big Tech and so on that can come to Hong Kong.
The infrastructure to support cryptocurrencies must also be in place for Hong Kong to realize its ambitions as a virtual asset center, Tan said. “When the platforms come, they come with that infrastructure. They also bring with them the infrastructure to deliver the product,” he added.
He added that opening up the financial industry to digital assets was “just a natural progression” as cryptocurrencies “become a little bit more prominent.”
“People are actually adopting [crypto] within their portfolio. Whether you’re talking about the retail side, high net worth or institutional investors, everyone is looking at their portfolios and trying to get that type of exposure.”
“Now we’re back to work. We’re opening it up.”
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