Cryptocurrency exchanges in Hong Kong will have to obtain licenses from the territory’s markets regulator and limit their service offerings to “professional investors”, according to the results of a consultation published today.

  • The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has been consulting since last year on proposed changes to the current “opt in” system, under which exchanges may apply to be licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission, but are under no obligation to do so.
  • Under Hong Kong law, investors must hold portfolios worth HK$8 million (US$1.03 million) to qualify for professional investor status.
  • Hong Kong hosts a large number of cryptocurrency exchanges, including some of the largest in the world, and crypto industry participants have resisted moves to preventing exchanges from dealing with retail investors, saying regulation designed to do so could spark an exodus of crypto exchanges from the city and drive investors into unregulated markets.
  • The FSTB says it will propose legislation during the 2021-22 session of the city’s legislative assembly, according to a report by Reuters.