An official from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said on Tuesday that the regulator wants to increase oversight of virtual assets because scams related to them have emerged in the market, according to a report by local media etnet.

Fast facts

  • Julia Leung, deputy chief executive officer at SFC, said Tuesday at a webinar organized by the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that the regulator will likely expand relevant licensing regulations to supervise virtual assets.
  • Leung said a crackdown on unlicensed cryptocurrency trading is needed and so are efforts to strengthen investor education.
  • Hong Kong has proposed legislation to require virtual asset service platforms (VASPs) to obtain licenses to operate. In May, Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau published its Consultation Conclusions, with legislative proposals to introduce a licensing regime for VASPs, following a 2019 volunteer program that allowed exchanges to opt in and commit to compliance.
  • Once the new licensing regime comes into effect, licensed VASPs will be subject to relevant anti-money laundering requirements, and the SFC will be able to supervise such entities with broader power.
  • Angelina Kwan, senior advisor to the board of HashKey Group and a former SFC regulator, told Forkast.News that more rules and clarity will make for a better market, and that investor education is vital. “If you don’t understand it, if it doesn’t sound right, if it sounds too good to be true, it normally is and is a scam,” she said.
  • Lennix Lai, director of financial markets at cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, told Forkast.News the OKEx team participated in the consultation, giving their opinions to the government about the crypto space, and that regulatory proposals and changes are common in the crypto world.