Hong Kong officials are looking at lifting the ban on retail crypto trading in an effort to bolster economic growth through the digital asset sector. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau of Hong Kong said local securities regulators will conduct a public consultation on restoring suitable crypto access for retail investors. It will also introduce ETFs for digital assets to its market.
An official statement highlighted that the bureau recognizes the increasing acceptance of digital assets as a vehicle for investment allocation by global investors – institutional or global. It would take a careful and cautious approach regarding the risks digital assets present to retail investors. Moreover, the agency will enhance investor education and ensure that it has suitable regulatory arrangements in place.
Hong Kong had issued guidance in May for exchanges operating in the city to require licensure and would only be able to service professional investors (those with a portfolio of $1.01 million). The licensing law will come into effect in March 2023. Lawyers have been looking to expand the framework to local retail investors. Regulators in Hong Kong said they would undertake future reviews on property rights for tokenized assets, and analyze the technical legality of smart contracts. They know that digital assets have unique characteristics different from traditional assets and their features may not fit into the current private property law categories or definitions in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) will announce further consultations on the regulatory regimes for stablecoins. It will look into governance, stabilization, and redemption mechanisms.